Scouting for art at the Woodbury Art Museum
Children’s voices reverberated through the cavernous exhibition space at the Woodbury Art Museum Saturday, Feb. 4. Not nearly as many as hoped for, though, according to Katherine Hall, Visitor Services Administration Support, who worked the door after making extensive preparations for a crowd of boys, girls and their families.
The first of many Scout Days at the museum, Saturday was the kickoff for a consistent activity, scheduled the first Saturday of every month from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Along with exposure to featured exhibits, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts and Cub Scouts will be able to fulfill nearly all of the requirements for certain art-related achievements in one visit to the museum on a Scout Day.
Interim Director and Curator Melissa Hempel described the repetitive nature of the event as a tool to consistently provide community members with a reason to visit. Fulfilling the scouting requirements for art-related badges is something that can be done any time by appointment, but with a regularly scheduled event, Hempel said, the museum staff can be “ready to work with the scouts when they come in.”
Both Hall and Hempel attributed the poor attendance to this, their premiere event, to the recent staffing problem in the Public Relations Graphic Design position. The advertisement of this event was regrettably lost in the three-week transition while Woodbury Art Museum’s administration tried to find a person to fill the vacant spot. The museum’s newest employee, Shaun McMurdie, is now learning the ropes and dealing with the typical new-job learning curve.
McMurdie has an extensive background in business and fine arts, most recently including a 10-year stint as the exhibit designer at the BYU Library. McMurdie had a hard time putting a finger on exactly what has compelled him to work with art nearly his whole life, but it was clear that he does have a passion for it.
“Both of my parents were musicians,” McMurdie said. “I’ve just always been drawn to museums because of the exposure I had as a kid to the fine arts.”
With lifelong passion like the kind McMurdie showed, it’s plain to see that future events won’t be falling through the cracks. That passion, it appeared, was not unique to museum administration. Tia Mickelson, a senior History major working at the museum through UVU’s work-study program, demonstrated a similar spirit while working with a couple of Cub Scouts Saturday.
While one boy that Mickelson worked with only had time for a single activity, another Cub Scout was able to fulfill all the requirements for the Art Belt Loop rather quickly, only working with Mickelson for about 20 minutes.
That speed of completion is typical, Mickelson said, but only when the young participants are “willing to listen and pay attention.”
Mickelson, admittedly a museum lover, was only recently turned on to the appeal of working in a museum. After taking Hempel’s Museum Studies class, Mickelson knew it was what she wanted to do. Working with children is just an added bonus, she said, since the experience she gets at the Woodbury Art Museum will only help her in the future, where she would inevitably work with children through various art programs.
“It’s so neat to see that spark when they discover something,” Mickelson said. “Kids are a lot of fun.”
By Jeff Jacobsen – Online Content Manager