As soon as I could use scissors, my grandmother set me up with an kraft-paper scrapbook, rubber cement, and piles of National Geographic magazines. I spent hours cutting out photos that caught my eye and pasting them to the oversize pages. Though I have upped my archival materials game, to this day, I love compiling books of family memories, both digital photo albums and scrapbooks filled with ephemera.
A love of stories and history, combined with “that organizing gene,” has led me down three career paths, each building on the previous ones. From my freshman year at Colgate University, I knew I wanted to pursue a career in museums. After graduation, I started working with military history collections at the National Museum of American History. Moving to the public side, I then worked in membership for the National Museum of the American Indian. Grad school took me out west, and I received a Master’s in Museum Studies at the University of Colorado – Boulder. Returning to Rochester, I became the Collections Manager at the Strong National Museum of Play. For eight years, I headed up the organizing, cataloging, photography, and archival packing and storage of the museum’s 500,000 objects.
Wanting to broaden my experiences, I completed a MBA at the Rochester Institute of Technology in 2008, and started a nine year career in marketing. Honing my ability to craft and share stories, first as marketing director for Genesee Regional Bank, then for The Harley School, it was exactly the public twist on my museum work that I had been seeking.
Career number three is a wonderful combination of the other two. As a photo organizer, I combine the technical organizing and storage knowledge from my museum days with the storytelling techniques from my time in marketing. I love projects both big and small, from tackling a family’s entire memory collection (including slides, prints, digital images, and memorabilia), to simply creating a video or photo book for a special event.
As I’ve worked with my own and my family’s memory collections throughout the years, I have peace of mind knowing my photos are backed up and easily retrievable, and get immense satisfaction from sharing the joy of scrapbooks, albums, slideshows, and videos with family and friends. It’s a journey though; I’ve also often been overwhelmed with old prints, unsure how best to share digital images, had hard drives fail…all familiar issues to anyone who has a photo collection.
I started The Photo Curator to help others get out from under the enormity of a photo collection, gain peace of mind that it’s safe and ready to be passed on, and share the joy of family memories.