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Eiteljorg Insider – 5 Questions with Amy McKune, Director of Museum Collections

by Jaq Nigg, Eiteljorg festivals and markets manager | Sep 19, 2013

As director of museum collections, Amy is responsible for the care and management of the museum’s collection. In concert with the museum’s registrar, she tracks all the objects in our collection and everything that comes in on loan. She works to provide a great environment (temperature, humidity, appropriate lighting, pest-free, and protection from dust) for the collections, both in storage and on display. And she maintains the collections management database that stores all the data we know about our collections so that the information is available to share with our public.
 
AMY MCKUNE


amy mckune with george harrison's guitarFavorite piece of art at the Eiteljorg:
Just like one’s children, Amy tries not to play favorites.  (Plus the curators might remember and accuse her of favoritism). 

1. What inspires you?
Beauty. I discovered as a teenager that I am dramatically affected by the environment in which I live. I feel better when I am surrounded by beauty…in art and in nature.

 2. If you could have any piece of art in the world in your home, what would it be?One of Monet’s Water Lily paintings. 

3. If you didn’t work in museum collections, what would you do?
My strengths lie in being able to process and handle lots of technical information and being able to make it understandable to others. I might be a technical writer. I’m an introvert, so that kind of solitary job is appealing.

 4. Do you collect anything?
Yes…Viewmaster viewers and reels…mostly of places that I have visited.  I’ve even made some of my own reels as part of my Creative Renewal Grant received from the Indianapolis Arts Council. Several years ago, a job required that I spend lots of time going to antique shows and shops. I didn’t collect anything at the time and I wasn’t always successful at finding what my museum needed. So I needed another way to chase away boredom during those long days of walking on concrete floors through miles of antique booths. I grew up with Viewmasters (sadly none of those were saved) and they were an inexpensive way to satisfy my collecting bug. 

5. If you could invite anyone to dinner who would it be?
Several years ago, I had the opportunity to visit with Eugene McCarthy, former senator from Minnesota and candidate for the presidency in 1968 (and a few times after that).  Sadly, he is gone now, but I really enjoyed getting to know this brilliant, compassionate man. I’d love to meet Gloria Steinem. She became a real hero to me as a young woman in college and I’ve always admired her activism. Might want to include Martin Sheen as well. Again, he’s an amazing activist. That’d be quite the dinner party.

Bonus Question: What would you serve?
A great Barefoot Contessa recipe of panko-crusted salmon. In fact, maybe Ina Garten should join us. Or maybe a bourbon-glazed salmon that is really fabulous. I’m sure I would spend days pondering the menu.

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