History Cherokee’s Education Manager
What is your main responsibility?
As education manager, I’m the liaison between schools and the museum. I work to get field trips to come here, showing students how history is relevant to their community and why it matters. My current pre-K program is called What’s Up Wednesday — we focus on one object or story in the museum and make a craft. I also bring in lecturers and develop programming for adult audiences. We have traditional lectures, as well as hands-on workshops, walking tours, etc. I really get to lean on my own curiosity. I’m lucky to have a job where I can say “I wonder …” and then develop a whole program to help me find out more.
What is your background?
I graduated from Georgia State University in 2013 with a bachelor’s in art history. In 2015, I enrolled at the University of West Georgia to get my master’s in public history and a certificate in museum studies. Public history is a fancy way of saying I get to be less academic! I take history and make it more meaningful and comprehensible for broader audiences. I’ve worked in a wide range of museums — from the High Museum of Art, where I worked in guest relations, to the Center for Puppetry Arts, where I was the gift shop associate. Before moving to Cherokee County, I was the education manager at the Augusta Museum of History — home of the Masters Tournament and birthplace of James Brown. I was there four years and, because it’s also a local history museum, it really prepared me to join History Cherokee in October 2021.
What do you like most about your job?
I love community engagement and outreach. Talking to people is one of my favorite things to do. Local history museums are unique because people are really invested in their own stories. History becomes much less abstract when you can relate it back to things in your own backyard. And, I love that people here really care about their history.
You learn about the Civil Rights Movement in school, but when you get to hear from someone from your community who helped to integrate a local business or school — that’s a different type of special. And it’s so cool to overhear people walking through our galleries share stories of their personal connections to our exhibits. I want everyone to be able to see themselves represented in that way.
My other favorite thing is hearing that kids like history because of their trip to the museum. They’ll often come in thinking that history is boring, but they’ll leave and tell me that they actually had fun! Witnessing that light switch turn on when they look at something and say “I’ve heard about this before!” or “This is just like …” — there is no greater feeling!
What projects are you excited about?
There are so many communities and audiences that I haven’t tapped into yet. I want to get home-school days started, work with the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, etc. People have also expressed an interest in summer camps. That’s a big undertaking, but it’s definitely in the works. I love partnerships. If you’d like to work with me on a program or collaboration, let me know!
Describe a memorable work experience.
We have a race car at the museum in our Dixie Speedway exhibit — it’s just the metalwork, but it’s still the full size and scale of a real race car. Before we opened, I wanted to take it out for a “test drive” and see what it was like to get in. It was easy to get in, but very hard to get out! Long story short, I got stuck — and I was the only one in the office at the time. Thankfully, I was able to muster up enough upper body strength to get out of it, but I’m very glad our cameras weren’t set up yet. I know my co-workers would have had a nice laugh seeing me crawl out of that car.
In past jobs, I’ve gotten a lot of wild phone calls. Once, a woman called me because she thought she’d found a real dinosaur egg!
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Bossier City, Louisiana. We moved to Newnan when I was in eighth grade. I’ve been in Georgia longer than I was in Louisiana now, but my taste buds will always belong to the Pelican State.
What are your goals?
While I’m at History Cherokee, I want to expand our programming and reach. It’s my hope that all of the schools in the county think of the Cherokee County History Center as a must-see destination for their students. And I want to continue to diversify the stories that we tell here. I know there is so much that we’ve only scratched the surface of.
What’s something about you that not many people know?
Many people don’t know that I was (and still am) a theater geek. I did musical theater in high school and college, and a little bit of community theater through the years. It’s something I may get back into when I learn how to have a better work-life balance! For now, give me a show tune to sing in the car or the shower, and I’m a star!
How do you like to spend free time?
In my free time, you can probably find me buying plants. I have so many house plants! In recent years, I’ve started to venture into vegetables. I’m a renter, so I do container gardens. But you can still grow a lot in containers.
I also love art. I can draw fairly well, but I’m trying my hand at watercolor. Hopefully, I’ll stick with it!