Hello! I’m Ellen Orr, the new Collections Consultant here at Conserv! I’ve been working in the collections field for about six years now; I have a deep love and appreciation for all things collection care! Here is a little bit about me.
A Background in Collection Care
As the Collections Consultant here at Conserv, I’m a resource for any collection that wants to improve its level of care – particularly around environmental monitoring. I’m also the main point of contact for all of our customers.
I have a BA in Art History from Wofford College in Spartanburg, SC, and an MBA from UA Birmingham. Before joining Conserv, I worked for the Birmingham Museum of Art in the Prep department for five years where I installed many major exhibitions, small shows, and single object rotations. I’ve also done some condition reporting, packing notes, and courier trips. Over the last 5 years, I’ve developed a specialty in the handling, matting, framing, and conservation of works on paper.
My interest in collection care started through an internship at the Smithsonian American Art Museum and Renwick Gallery in the Collections Management and Registration offices.
When I’m not at work, I do a little freelance matting and framing. I’m also an avid rock climber and outdoors enthusiast! I love camping and traveling with my husband and climbing partner, Jake, and exploring new places.
Why is this important?
I love telling tell non-museum people that I’ve worked in museums, because the usual response is, “Do you get to touch the art?!” Yep, I’m an experienced art handler! It’s pretty cool, not gonna lie. It was surreal the first time I got to hold a work of art I’d studied in college!
Collection work gives me a deeper connection to the art than just looking at it on a wall or in a case. When you’re responsible for making sure an object is well cared for, you get to learn everything about the object; how it was made, what it’s made of, if it’s been repaired in the past, who made it and why, etc. This responsibility is really meaningful; it’s something I live for.
Keeping cultural history and heritage alive and relevant is one task, but keeping it preserved and safe is another, very different task. Ever since I decided to follow a career path in museums, I’ve wanted to be involved in conservation. Art and artifacts are meant to be treasured and studied for generations to come, and that’s why I joined Conserv!
If you have any questions or feedback for me or Conserv, drop a comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks for reading!