Walking through the center of the Milwaukee Art Museum’s main level galleries, visitors often become aware of something out of place: a single, monotone voice echoing faintly through the spacious galleries. Those curious enough to follow the noise to its source will stumble upon an unexpected scene. Just around the corner from the central staircase, a small cloth doll lies on the museum floor, a bright yellow folding chair leaning precariously against its head. Projected onto the doll’s blank head is the expressionless face of an adult man, speaking a series of short phrases slowly and deliberately.
Each day, hundreds of visitors enter the Milwaukee Art Museum to stare in awe at the incredible wealth of artworks within the museum’s collection. But what can too often go unrecognized is the equally awe-inspiring work of the many museum staff members, without whom the museum in its current state could not exist. “MAM Behind the Scenes” is a blog series written by Digital Learning intern Emma Fallone to showcase the wide range of positions that make up a museum, and to reveal just a few of of the many people whose work makes the Milwaukee Art Museum a source of inspiration and education. We begin with Heather Winter, Librarian and Archivist.
Can you give a brief description of your job, in thirty seconds or less?
A little bit of anything and everything. My responsibility is to take questions about the Museum’s collection and history, and then answer them with any number of materials from the library or the institutional archives. It’s my job to know where those materials are, and to use them to answer the questions quickly and accurately.