Curator of Folklife & Research, University of South Carolina
Where do you currently work?
As the Curator of Folklife and Research at McKissick Museum, I'm responsible for coordinating all of the traditional arts programming at McKissick Museum. In addition, I manage the Folklife Resource Center, an archive housing all of the audio, video, and image documentation gathered throughout the Museum's 30 year history. I also teach in the South Carolina Honor's College - usually one class a semester.
Tell me a bit about your career?
I started out pursuing an art history career, but soon became passionate about architecture and the built environment. Came to Western because of the Historic Preservation track, but was soon influenced strongly by Larry Danielson, who I blame for diverting my interest from vernacular architecture to the people responsible for said architecture. So I shifted from historic site work to an applied folklore career path. Hence I jumped on the opportunity to come to USC.
How has folklore prepared you for your career?
See above. Western's emphasis on combining academic study with practical, real-world job experience was crucial. This approach provided the impetus for me to get out of the library and into a job in the field that required me to make decisions on a day-to-day basis. While a strong academic foundation is necessary, the internship-driven nature of the "public" track was key to my future job outlook.
A wonderful two years. Challenging and demanding with top-notch professors who not only instructed, but mentored. Only regret is that Western has no PhD program. Would have stayed on to pursue a doctorate if the option was there.