Thursday, August 12, 2010

Alumna Profile: Latasha R. ('04) in South Carolina

When people ask me what I do for a living I simply state, “I’m the collections manager for the local museum system.” The general response is a nod followed by confusion as to what that actually means, prompting me to elaborate with, “I am responsible for the care of the objects in the museum’s collection.” As the current collections manager for the Culture and Heritage Museums in York Co., SC, I am a part of a small, privileged team of people who directly control access to the collection, decide appropriate use, storage, and display of collections pieces, and even decide which potential donations should or should not be added to the permanent collection. On any given day, I can be found doing a number of things at CHM. I may be at my desk doing data entry for a newly accessioned object, moving a mounted cougar from off-site storage to the Museum of York County in the back of a van while my fellow drivers stare in shock, or even getting down on my hands and knees to dust off objects on display in one of CHM’s historic buildings. Not all of my time is spent working directly with objects in the collection, trying to make sure they are “happy” in acid free containers with their proper tripartite identification numbers. I am also responsible for a good deal of paperwork related to potential donations, the legal ownership and provenance of objects, and the creation of loan agreements with other institutions. However, whether I am labeling and storing an archaeological surface find or sitting in a meeting and discussing the creation of a naturalist center, everything I do helps ensure that each object in our collection will not only be accessed and appreciated in the present, but will be here for future generations to enjoy and learn from as well.

Latasha earned an MA in Museum Studies from the University of Washington.

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