Behind-the-Scenes: Associate Registrar, Rachel Tassone
1. How long have you been at WCMA? What brought you to the museum?
I will mark my 20th year in May 2011. I grew up in this area, went away to college to study studio art and couldn’t think of a better place to come back to. I interviewed at Williams, a day after I graduated.
2. What do you do at WCMA? Describe a typical workday here.
I am the Associate Registrar and my duties involve all aspects of collection management. My work tends to be project driven, which means I could be condition checking artworks; cataloguing new artworks; data entry; filing; scheduling photography; inventorying a storage room; processing a reproduction request; or providing support to museum staff on our database.
3. What is your favorite part about your job?
I enjoy working directly with art objects and seeing all types of art. My job provides me with a unique behind-the-scenes experience.
4. I understand the museum is working to digitize the collection. Can you explain concisely what this means and how this affects the museum?
Best museum practices call for visual documentation, to this end it is my job to facilitate photography of each object in the collection. With the assistance of a two year IMLS funded grant, we are in the process of taking superior quality digital images of our Ancient & World Cultures collections, including Greek and Roman pottery and sculpture, Indian miniatures, as well as Egyptian amulets and jewelry. This project has jump-started our digitization efforts, and… as we add images to our database, the textual records come to life and our holdings become more accessible to museum staff, students and visitors.
5. What is the most interesting thing that has ever happened to you at the museum?
I had the opportunity to work on an appraisal project with American Furniture expert and Antiques Road Show star, Leslie Keno (who is also a Williams alum). I went through museum storage and several campus buildings examining furniture with him. It was an amazing experience to hear him speak so eloquently about the various styles.
6. Do you have any secret talents? If so, what are they?
A few years ago, I taught myself how to hook primitive wool rugs.
Above image: Rachel Tassone. Photo by Elizabeth Leitzell, 2009.