Puerto Rico Museum Studies Group 2009

My first two months at Affiliations

What a time it’s been! All my friends at Cooper-Hewitt keep asking, how is it?! what is it like to work at the Smithsonian in Washington?!

I anticipated the rewards of this job, and certainly have not been disappointed!  Things are quite different being on the Smithsonian “campus”.  I have really enjoyed gaining a macro view of the Institution, and the sense of community that comes from meeting colleagues across all the units. And even after 10 years with the Smithsonian, I’m realizing anew how much of the collection I still need to see, so it’s been fun to work on that!  but what I like most is meeting and getting to know all of my affiliates, and learning how rich and different they all are in mission, needs, perspective. It means that when I come to work every day, I never know what challenges may come up – all of which will require creative solutions, and all of which were well worth moving to DC for!

I thought I’d attach a few highlights from my first two months, the “wow, I can’t believe I actually work for the Smithsonian!” moments. I’ll be eager to hear about your ah-ha moments too! 


 PR group 095.jpg  in my third week on the job, I got to accompany this group of museum professionals from the Universidad del Turabo, PR on a behind-the-scenes study tour.  Here we are in the ImaginAsia classroom at the Freer Sackler.            

PR group 029.jpg  it’s a little like the Wizard of Oz when Natural History Museum Staff pull back the curtain on their collection objects in storage! 

       PR group 019.jpg Jars and jars of specimens in storage – snakes, eggs, sharks, and more – I’ve never seen anything like it!

 Duck decoys     amazing sash   Amazing objects from the NMAI collection.  Duck decoys that are thousands of years old!  and found in Nevada – imagine what the climate there must have been that long ago, to necessitate this hunting accoutrement!  and a beautiful sash made from woodpeckers… you can probably pick out their red feathers, but do you see their beaks?!