Whew! That’s usually the first thing I think when I walk in the door of the museum and see that everything is as it should be. You see, I am a natural born worrier, therefore a job like this both suits me well and causes me miniature panic attacks. I am the Security and Visitor Services Assistant at the museum and while the security aspect of my job may keep me on edge a bit, I couldn’t be happier to be working in an art museum. For the past 10 years, working in the arts has been a goal of mine. When I joined the staff at the Kemper Art Museum about 2 years ago, I may have done a little happy dance (okay, a big, flamboyant happy dance). It is not easy breaking into the world of museums, but once you do, it is incredibly rewarding, educational and surprising.
Typically during a day, I am, along with the other Security Supervisors, the Manager on Duty. This position requires a grab-bag of job duties: we are available to answer questions, solve problems and respond to any emergency situation (like one of our toddler patrons running head first into our glass wall OUCH!). A typical day is tough to describe, as things are rarely the same around here. Of course, there are the weekly administrative tasks that need to get done, but the uncertainty and the possibilities that each day bring help to make the days scoot by much faster.
I am also fortunate to have a wonderful staff of Museum Attendants and Captains that help me ensure the safety of the museum. They are of vital importance to the museum and the safety of our collections, patrons and staff. I have about 45 attendants I supervise and it’s a pretty great job if you can get it. I actually started at the museum as an attendant, so I have an honest respect for what their position entails (believe me when I say these cement floors are not very forgiving on the lower back).
Finally, there is the hush-hush, super-secret information and procedures that the security job demands. Of course, I cannot share that information with you. Just know that we are always watching. Not in a creepy or weird way, but in a “please don’t touch our art because we love it” way. I’ve probably said too much already.
It is hard for me to pin point my favorite aspect about this job. There are so many things that I am grateful for working at this museum. I think the most important and gratifying part of my job is all of the skills I have already been able to learn and all of the possibilities that lie before me. The staff here has been so helpful in teaching me new skills, both inside and outside my job title, and I am hopeful that I can foray that information into a lengthy and prosperous museum career. As an avid art history enthusiast, the biggest thrill for me has been learning how to handle art and watching some of the pieces in our collection receive some TLC. Just knowing that these are works of art that were created by some of the most important names in all of art history is both awe-inspiring and remarkable for me. Honestly, just being surrounded in all this art has made me feel more inspired and creative than ever!
By Lauren Hahn (Friday, December 20, 2013)