People are always telling me, “You have the best job!” to which I always reply that I am pretty sure that I have the best job in Chicago, and probably in Illinois, and possibly in the whole country. In this age when unemployment and discouraging economic news has reached a fevered pitch, I count myself very, very lucky to be able to feel true passion for my work and the results that my efforts bring both to The Field Museum and to the lives of the people that I meet along the way. As the Director of the Museum Stores, I get to oversee an incredibly gifted team of retail professionals and to collaborate with a wide variety of talented staff members from departments across the Museum. I think that most people would be shocked to find how much planning and attention to detail goes into the running of the Museum Stores. We often work years in advance to plan stores that are dedicated to our temporary exhibitions. We literally have thousands of unique items that make up the merchandise mix in our stores, which include four onsite permanent locations, two temporary exhibition stores, two offsite stores at O’Hare International Airport and our online store. And of course one of the most fascinating parts of my job involves travel and shopping at regular retail/wholesale shows in major cities, weekly markets in small villages in Central and South America, various antique malls in out-of-the-way places, global craft fairs held in foreign capitals and of course in artists’ homes.
I have met people like Mauricio, who was sculpting incredible tiny frogs and lizards out of copper wire on the step in front of the banana bread shop in a town in Guatemala (that's Mauricio with some horses that he designed just for us ), and Dee Edaake, the master Zuni fetish carver, who was working on building a shalako house for his family the day that I visited him in New Mexico last year. My intention in writing this blog is to share some of the stories behind the work that I do for the Field Museum, to take you along on my trips and to introduce you to some of the people that I meet along the way. Just to give you a little flavor of the fun that I have, take a look at the early morning news segment that I did last week on the opening day of our Chocolate Around the World exhibition: http://abclocal.go.com/wls/video?id=8377949 Check back with me regularly to see what we are up to here at the Field Museum Stores.