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COPYRIGHT NOTICE


This Oral History is copyrighted by the Interviewee
and the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program on
behalf of the Board of Trustees of the University of
Florida.

Copyright, 2005, University of Florida.
All rights, reserved.

This oral history may be used for research,
instruction, and private study under the provisions
of Fair Use. Fair Use is a provision of United States
Copyright Law (United States Code, Title 17, section
107) which allows limited use of copyrighted
materials under certain conditions.
Fair use limts the amount of material that may be
used.

For all other permissions and requests, contact the
SAMUEL PROCTOR ORAL HISTORY PROGRAM at
the University of Florida









Interviewer: Carol MacDonald
Interviewee: LeJene Normann
July 10, 1992
UF 214

M: This is Carol MacDonald conducting an oral history for the Ham Museum of Art. It is
July 10, 1992, and this morning I am interviewing LeJene Normann, [executive]
secretary to the director of the Ham, Mr. [Budd] Bishop, and Peggy Bridges,
registrar of the Ham Museum. Together they formed the staff beginning in mid 1987
[and mid 1988, respectively] and maintained offices at the Seagle Building on [West]
University Avenue.

LeJene, would you please tell me where you were born and where you went to
school and how you came to the University of Florida?

N: I was born in Ahoskie, North Carolina, and moved to Florida in 1966. [I] moved to
Gainesville in 1979 and attended the University of Florida while working at the
University of Florida College of Medicine, Department of Pathology and Department
of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

M: What did you study at the University of Florida while you were going to school?

N: English. In July of 1987 I began work as executive secretary to the director of the
Ham Museum.

M: OK. Peggy, where were you born, and where are you from?

B: I was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and moved at a very young age to
Knoxville, Tennessee, where I grew up. I went to college at the University of
Tennessee in Knoxville. After I got out of school, I was a Congressional staff
assistant for a couple of years and then a public librarian. When my husband was
transferred to Indiana, I started work at the Evansville Museum of Arts and Sciences
as a registrar. We were transferred a few years later to Florida at the same time
that Mr. Bishop was looking for a registrar, and I started [with the Ham] at the
Seagle Building in May of 1988.

M: OK. If you would both like, talk about your time at the Seagle Building, what your
duties were, what jobs you performed, and who you worked with. Who were the
people you worked with and corresponded with and that kind of thing? LeJene,
would you like to start?

N: Mr. Bishop had a temporary secretary for the first six months. When I arrived in July
of 1987, since she had just a minimum amount of temporary files, I had the good
fortune as a secretary to set up my own filing system. During that time, that first
year before Peggy arrived, Mr. Bishop was meeting with the architects. There were


-1-









quite a few routine meetings with the architects, and we corresponded with them
and communicated with them by telephone.

M: So you got to know Kha Le-Huu and Jackson-Reeger [Inc., AIA] and the staff pretty
well?

N: Right. Actually, that took a great deal of Mr. Bishop's time actually up until we
opened. The architectural phase, the planning of the museum, and the actual
building [of the museum kept us all busy]. Peggy was very involved when she came
on board with communicating with the architects and planners [and with] other
people [whom we had targeted as would-be donors]. We corresponded [with them],
and Mr. Bishop had meetings and telephone calls [with these people who] were
early potential donors. And, of course, [we corresponded with] his colleagues in the
museum field.

M: So he was communicating a lot with the Columbus [Ohio] Museum? [Bishop had
been director of the Columbus Museum prior to coming to the Ham Museum, and
many of the initial plans were worked out by him and the staff there while he was still
there. Ed.]

N: Well, primarily with directors in other museums across the country, maintaining
communication with other museums. Also, he did a great amount of public speaking
those first couple of years, numerous [presentations].

M: Do you recall any of the groups that he addressed?

N: Yes: [the] Gainesville Fine Art Association, Rotary [International], Junior League,
University Women's Club, [and Gainesville] Woman's Club. [There were] just
numerous groups that he spoke to. Also, in the first couple of years, a committee
from the Junior League approached him about initiating the docent program with the
Harn Museum. He was quite involved with that.

M: Setting up the docent program?

N: Yes.

M: OK. Peggy, you came a year later in 1988. You were hired as registrar at that
point?

B: Yes.

M: And what were you doing there at that time? What was your job?

B: Well, as LeJene said, a lot of what we did had to do with the building. We were
constantly participating in decisions that involved the specifications for the climate


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control, the security system, the floor loading capacity, elevator capacity, [and] how
we wanted the locks on every door in the museum keyed. It seemed as if we were
on the construction site quite a bit. We had our own hard hats, and we would come
over here. We led a lot of tours over here while the building was under construction.

M: Oh, really? To whom did you give tours?

B: We gave tours to visiting professional colleagues from around the state and from
around the country. [We gave them] to many different University groups: people
from the administration [and] people from personnel. It seemed like a lot of people
with whom we worked on campus were interested in what we were doing, and we
wanted to share what was going on at the site. So we very frequently took people
on tours, often [with] flashlights in hand when we got down to the lower level.

M: So you participated in the design phase of the building?

B: Well, I did not. The design was done when I came. Ground was broken on the
building ... I do not remember [when] exactly. In March?

N: March of 1988.

B: So the building was starting to go up when I came in May. All three of us, it
seemed, would get a phone call every day about one thing or another. In any
construction project, all the plans are made. But as the building goes up, other
decisions and changes or something go on.

M: And you participated in that?

B: We all did because we were the only three people there. So we would consider the
question together and try to think of the best solution. I did not do a lot of things
related to registration initially. The interesting thing to me about building a museum
is that not only do you have to get the museum building up but you have to be ready
to run it for several years immediately. A museum is planned several years in
advance, so while we were at the Seagle Building, we had to plan exhibitions, start
to write contracts and policies, and get our procedures in place.

One thing that may have been a little out of the ordinary for some museums,
although I do not know, was we were fortunate that the Florida State Elks
Association lent us a collection of [Edvard] Munch prints. We went right ahead and
organized a traveling exhibition of these prints while, in fact, we did not have a
museum. We did the same thing with the Italian drawings show ["Italian Old Master
Drawings, 16th-18th Centuries," from the collection of Jeffrey E. Horvitz]. So we
were making arrangements and contacting other museums and setting up venues
and planning catalogues and brochures while we were at the Seagle Building.


-3-









M: I am just amazed at the number of hats that you both wore at this point. I mean, you
were curators, budget consultants, and you were designing and [working with]
construction. LeJene, were you out here with the hard hat also?

N: Yes.

M: And [you were] helping with tours.

N: We had such fun. [laughter] Really, there was such camaraderie and such a spirit
[of cooperation]. It was totally project-oriented, and we were just very excited about
it.

B: It was something different every day. That is why, in a way, it is almost hard to
remember everything we did because it was something different all the time. I do
remember very well my first day of work. By 9:30 [a.m.] Mr. Bishop was asking us to
help him write a justification to the legislature as to why we needed eight positions or
fifteen positions funded in the next year. I do not remember the exact numbers, but
I had been there for an hour and a half and was a little stunned. It was just jump in
there and swim and do what had to be done. It was a tremendous opportunity. I
saw that whole process as an opportunity that, at least in my career, I doubt I will be
able to have again. So it was very exciting and motivating to be involved in it.

M: From where did you draw your expertise? From your past experience as a museum
registrar? Did you have to rush and do a lot of research?

B: There was very little past experience [involved] for me, as far as building a museum.
In a lot of ways, I think [that] I was very inspired by Mr. Bishop in that he was
somehow able to instill in us the confidence that we could do this. [He told us to]
just break it down into smaller pieces and figure out the small things. Have a plan,
and think on your feet. Get all the information you can, and try to make a good
decision. It was the kind of situation where, physically, we had a very small office.
So we were able to talk to one another instantly about what was going on, and
communication was very open and very accessible. So we were able to work
together. No one was out there on their own doing anything. It was really a team
effort.

N: And it was a situation in which if you were asked to do something or discovered you
needed to do something, you knew you could. You did not think it could not be
done. You knew you would do it, and you would figure it out.

B: We did not have time to think that we could not do this or we had never done it
before or we did not know how to do it. As LeJene said, you just did it!

N: Right.


-4-









M: So you worked along with the fund raising and with writing to the legislature and with
the University staff. Tell me about your involvement with the University and how
they were helpful or maybe not helpful.

N: Well, there were many ways daily that we interacted with the University. One was
that I was involved with the financial records for the museum: purchasing [and]
accounts payable. I prepared budgets, did the payroll, handled the accounts for
both the state and the University of Florida Foundation. We worked with University
Personnel [Services]--Mr. Bishop, Peggy, and I--in writing position descriptions for
all the incoming staff. [We] coordinated hiring of the staff: setting up interviews, [for
example]. We advertised nationally [for some positions], and [we] coordinated
itineraries for those candidates. As Peggy said, we wrote justifications and
explanations to the provost on a periodic basis.

M: And that was Bob Bryan?

N: The provost was Robert Bryan at that time.

M: You were also in charge of requesting grants?

N: Yes. Peggy, particularly, [was involved with grants]. Peggy coordinated a grant
proposal, and I assisted with the budgetary element of that.

M: Which grants? Do you remember which ones you were working with?

B: Together, we wrote a grant to the [Florida Department of State] Division of Cultural
Affairs requesting funding for the brochures that accompanied the inaugural
exhibitions. That grant was successful. We wrote another proposal to the [Ira]
Koger Foundation. That one was not successful, but we had an opportunity to
obtain a portion of their collection [in Jacksonville]. We were asked to compete with
several other museums, and we did that.

M: And what was their collection?

B: Ceramics. We were one of four or five museums that were asked to write proposals
for what we would do if we were awarded this collection. There again we were
behaving as if we were a full-fledged, up-and-running museum, when in fact we
were three people in an office on University Avenue. [laughter] So we had two
mindsets going on here all the time. One was running a museum that did not quite
exist yet, and the other one was building this museum over here on Hull Road.

M: [It was] quite a challenge. Tell me about the University Gallery and their collections
and what was going on with that.


-5-









B: It was planned and understood from, I guess, the initial conception of the museum
that the Ham Museum would assume the custody of the University's art collection.
The University Gallery had had that role for many, many years. However, they did
not have the storage space nor the staff to care for it. The University's collection
was about 2,500 objects. It was stored in several places on campus and off
campus. We worked very closely with Ruth Beesch, who was the acting director of
the University Gallery. Because we were going to assume custody of that collection
and part of it--the African and New Guinea objects and some of the American
pieces--was going on view as soon as we opened, we moved many of them over to
our small storeroom that was next to our offices in the Seagle Building. We had a
storeroom there. LeJene coordinated the security installation and climate control
before I came, so she was a curator for a while, too. [laughter]

M: So you put an alarm system in?

N: Yes, we did. We had an alarm system.

M: And then what did you do about the climate control?

B: We had thermohygrometers in there to measure the temperature and humidity.
[We] insulated the room, and it maintained [an appropriate climate] pretty well.

M: It certainly must be better than the storage area above the lecture hall in D-105.

B: Exactly. That is how we looked at it: It was better than it was. [laughter]

N: I also kept our office supplies in the front part of that storage room.

M: So you had office supplies and a $2 million collection of art. [laughter]

N: Yes, we did! [laughter]

B: Until the art expanded. Then we kicked the office supplies out. [laughter]

N: Actually, after two and a half or three years, when we started hiring more staff, we
acquired two more offices in the Seagle Building.

M: Who was the next person that you hired? Did you feel like you had to have this
particular person?

N: Yes! [laughter]

M: If you did not have them, it was going to be the end.

N: Charlotte Simmons [business manager].


-6-










B: Well, Blair [Sands] was next.


N: Blair was next, yes.

B: We hired the assistant registrar in February of 1989.

M: Oh, is that Dixie [Neilson]'s job now?

B: Yes. Blair Sands was [the first] assistant registrar. In fact, her duties were, much as
ours were, whatever needed to be done that day. She was the next full-time hire.
Then Charlotte Simmons and Larry Perkins [curator of collections] came in May of
1989.

M: And Charlotte took over your financial duties?

N: Yes.

M: I bet that was a big relief.

N: It was a big relief.

M: So you were adding offices all along and squeezing in?

N: Yes.

M: Were you adding offices or just desks [in the] one office?

B: Both.

N: Well, [we added] desks in every office, and we added two more offices. It was
crowded! People were just about sitting on top of one another.

B: We had OPS [Other Personnel Services] funds as well, so we had OPS help. We
[also] hired a fiscal assistant, a preparator, a guard, [and] building maintenance
[personnel]. The hiring just went on and on. We were getting closer to opening.

M: So everybody had to work at the Seagle Building. Where did the guard work? What
did he do?

B: That was the chief guard. He spent quite a bit of time at the building site getting
familiar with the security system and that kind of thing. Charlotte would know more
about his specific duties; she supervised him.


-7-









M: OK. I just thought maybe he was standing guard [over] the art work at the Seagle
Building.

N: Oh, no. He was out here.

B: We had a complete alarm system and did not need an on-duty guard for that. There
was one point at which we were packed so tightly at the Seagle Building. I do not
remember how many people we had there at the time, but it seemed to be an awful
lot. We were supposed to move into the [new] building in, I think, January of 1990.
In December we got a phone call from Scott Sloan [director, UF facilities planning]
saying that there was a delay and [that] it would be late spring. Mr. Bishop was out
of town at the time, and the full-time staff huddled together and realized that we
would go crazy if we spent one more day in that Seagle Building. So we rented yet
another office on the third floor because it was almost unbearable. You could hardly
hear yourself talk on the phone.

M: At that point you had Blair Sands, Charlotte Simmons, Larry Perkins, [and] the
guard.

B: [We also had] Lassie Patterson [membership coordinator], Brad Smith [chief
preparator], Gene Thomas [maintenance supervisor], and Terry Coons [security
supervisor].

N: Mark Iglich [assistant preparator], too, [had been hired] by that time.

B: Yes, we did.

M: So you practically had the entire staff.

B: Yes, and at least six part-timers.

N: [There was also] Richard Rivera, the store manager. We had fifteen to twenty
people.

B: Full-time and part-time [employees].

N: Some were sharing telephones and sitting three feet away. We were all very busy.
Everybody was swamped!

M: Not necessarily performing what they were hired for but just doing all of everything.

N: Right.

B: Larry Perkins, the curator of collections, was managing and organizing the docent
program because the curator of education was not hired yet. I was doing, at that


-8-









time, most of the exhibition programing because we did not have a curator of
exhibitions yet. We also had Sari Gian there as Larry's secretary.

M: OK. You have made some notes. Would you go ahead and talk about what you
feel is very important?

N: I want to talk about the groundbreaking in March of 1988 because it was such a
monumental occasion for us, Mr. Bishop having been here since January of 1987.
We had worked to that point of the groundbreaking. It was a very organized,
coordinated event with the University of Florida. We coordinated the
groundbreaking with Scott Sloan's office in facilities planning, with the president's
office, [with] public relations, with the Gainesville Sun, and the student newspaper,
the [Independent Florida] Alligator.

M: Now, I was reading about the groundbreaking in an article. It was an unusual
[ceremony]. Everybody gathered around where the building would be going.
N: That is right.
M: There was no shovel with a bow or anything like that.

N: That is right. The College of Fine Arts was involved in the groundbreaking, which
was really wonderful. We had T-shirts printed that all the students who were in the
College of Fine Arts wore. They were printed with "Ham Museum of Art
Groundbreaking, 1988" and "Department of Art." The students all carried balloons,
and they walked around the chalked perimeter of the museum, tracing the outline of
the museum. Then, at the end of this walk, hundreds of balloons [that] had been put
into a model of the tetrahedron were released into the air. (The tetrahedron is the
triangle-type structure at the top of the building.) Then we had a catered reception
under a tent.

M: Here at the site?

N: Yes, here at the site. We invited University figures, political figures, potential
donors, [and] friends of the museum. We had quite a good turnout. It was a
beautiful day--a sunny, warm March day. Throughout that time, we had a
development director working with us. Our first development director was Prudence
Precourt, and she was involved throughout this groundbreaking. She and Mr.
Bishop were involved in quite a lot of fund raising on the local level and also in cities
throughout Florida. Our second development director's name was Gary Smith.

M: Now, did they work with the Gallery Guild and local organizations also?

N: Not directly with the Gallery Guild but certainly with some people who were friends
of the museum who had been in the Gallery Guild. When Gary Smith came on
board, he was in charge of a local [fund-raising] campaign that was headed by Dr.


-9-









E. T. York [former vice-president for agricultural affairs and interim president of the
University in 1974]. This was a campaign to the founders of the Harn Museum.

M: So the founders were those who donated a substantial amount.

N: Yes.

M: And were they from Florida, [from] all over the state?

N: Yes, mostly from Florida. Gary Smith, Mr. Bishop, and Dr. York made those
campaign fund-raising calls during that time. That was a very busy time. When I
speak of the founders, those were the people whose names are on the plaques.

M: The glass panels in the lobby?

N: Yes, in our lobby.

M: So that involved a lot of scheduling and dinners and luncheons and [so on]?

N: Yes. Primarily [there were] a lot of lunches for those meetings. Throughout all of
those first few years there was a tremendous amount of fund raising and social
events. We had one at the Seagle Building, and then others [were held] in people's
homes in Gainesville and around the state. Also we had a few at the Heritage Club.

M: [You said that] Mr. Bishop was interviewing [to fill various positions at the museum]
also at the time. Talk about that.

N: Yes. Mr. Bishop interviewed at least five candidates for each department-head
position. Then those department heads interviewed their staff, but Mr. Bishop also
met with each of their staff before they were offered positions. So there was a great
deal of interviewing.

B: As new department heads were hired, generally, the already-existing department
heads were somewhat involved. We did national searches for everyone, so the
candidate would come in for a day or a day and a half. Mr. Bishop would spend the
largest block of time with that candidate, but then other department heads would be
involved in different ways, [such as] taking the person to lunch or on a tour of the
campus or meeting for breakfast. So everyone had an opportunity to meet the
candidates.

M: OK. There were a number of delays in construction, which meant, I guess, that you
had to reschedule an exhibit. Tell about what was involved when there was a delay.
How many delays were there?


-10-









B: I remember having three [proposed] opening dates. The third one actually
happened. Is that right?

N: Yes.

B: We had an opening day [scheduled] in February, and then we had one in May, I
think, or June. Then September was the one that happened. I guess what might be
unique to museums--and certainly the performing arts center faced this as well--was
you have to plan your events assuming that your construction will be done at a
certain time. So we were always juggling when we were projected to be able to
move into the building and then figuring out how much time we needed to get ready
to open and what was the shortest amount of time we could do that in. [We had to]
get the galleries set up, the furniture in the building, and so forth. Then we had to
weigh the opening dates against the University's calendar. We did not want to open
in the middle of the summer when the students were gone. We had a lot of
considerations there.

We had a couple of things that occurred that were just out of our control. Mr. Bishop
was responsible for the professional development committee of FAMDA (the Florida
Art Museum Directors Association) for a couple of years. They decided that they
wanted to have a statewide registration seminar. So we decided that the Ham
Museum would not only be the place to do it but that we would be the people to
organize it.

That was probably in early 1989 that we decided to do that. Looking at the
calendar, we thought that June of 1990 would just be a wonderful time. We would
be in the building, we would be open, and what a great time [it would be] to have our
colleagues from around the state come to this seminar. We had national speakers,
and it was the first statewide seminar of its type in Florida.

Well, it so happened that we booked everybody and made the plans and then had a
building delay. We moved into the building in mid May, and the seminar was
[supposed to be] in mid June. The galleries were not installed, construction people
were everywhere, [and] the air-conditioner was not right, and it was absolutely
freezing. I remember people having lunch in the galleria and turning blue because it
was so cold.
In spite of that, we had a fabulous turnout. It was very successful. Our speakers
were wonderful, and the people coming to the seminar--we had sixty or seventy
people from around the state--got to see the museum before any artwork was in it.
[laughter] But we could not back out of certain things. We grouped together in the
Seagle Building and decided whether to just go for it, to gamble, or what.

N: [You had to take on the attitude of] "So what if we do not have paintings in our
museum." [laughter]


-11 -









B: That is right. There was another situation where we anticipated an opening. We
had booked the Grunwald Collection of African Art, [organized by] Indiana
University. Once you get on a schedule with another museum, you are committed
to that. We expected to open--I do not remember; this might have been for the
February opening--and they wanted to deliver the show early to us. We had room at
the Seagle Building, so we agreed to take it. The truck brought it, and we put it in
the building. We found out shortly after that we had a delay, and we were not going
to be in the building, so we had to scramble around and do something with that
show so [that] we would not be stuck with the rental fee. It turned out that the
Florida Museum of Natural History wanted the exhibition, so it worked out well for
us.

That was probably the most challenging thing. Museums plan so very far in
advance, and to be ready to open a facility of this size with everything in place and
working against deadlines that we had no control over was a little difficult
sometimes.

M: Can you talk a little bit about when you were getting ready for the grand opening? I
know it must have gotten even more intense at that point.

B: It was very difficult. I think we all remember that summer as being exhausting. At
the same time, it was as if we were operating on some kind of energy that cannot
really be described. It was going to be the climax of what we had been doing for
several years. We went down to the wire. We did! We opened on a Friday night.
The galleries were ready on the Wednesday before. We thought we did pretty good,
really, because we had a day and a half.

M: That is incredible. Was there any particularly profound problem at that point? Did
anything occur that really threw you that you can remember?

B: The thing I remember most was realizing at some point--about six weeks before the
date--that we did not have enough people to do the work involved to get 22,000
square feet of exhibition space prepped and installed. We spent a lot of our OPS
money in the early months of that fiscal year.

M: So you were busy hiring OPS people to [do what]?

B: To come in here and help, because it was looking as if it were going to be real close.
But at the same time it was exciting. Bringing the [Alexander] Calder sculpture in
was real exciting for us. I remember that day very well. Do you [remember it]?

N: Yes, I do.

B: Most of the staff stayed that day.


-12-









N: Yes.
B: It was delivered from Miami on a flatbed truck wrapped in blankets and then plastic
and then wrapped in tape. The truck was an open flatbed, and it came up Hull
Road. It was in the morning, I think, and we all ran out to the terrace and hung over
the balcony and watched the truck. It was so exciting for us because here was the
big focal point of our exhibition. It was going, of course, in the rotunda.

M: What was the name of that sculpture?

B: "The Red Dragon." It weighed--I do not remember--about 7,000 pounds. It was
huge and in all one piece. (Well, it had some parts that came off.) We had a huge
truck out here with a crane to lift it off of the flatbed onto dollies. We brought it in
through the vestibule doors. It took many, many people. We placed it there and
unwrapped it. By this time it was well past 5:00, but everyone was so excited that
no one could leave. I remember they placed the extension part that swung around
up there. It was in place, and everybody stood back. It was spontaneous:
everybody started clapping.

N: Yes, yes! [laughter]

B: It was really quite a moment for us.

N: It was.

M: Now, you were talking about [how] you and Mr. Bishop--and this is backtracking a
little--would pore over the plans and study them for hours. Then you came upon a
surprising discovery. Could you talk about that a little?

N: Yes. Mr. Bishop, Peggy, and I spent hours and hours for months looking at the
architectural plans. It was not until the building was under construction, the
plumbing had been laid, [and] the walls were up that we discovered that there was
only one toilet in the women's staff restroom. [There was only] one toilet for a staff
of fifteen women. It never occurred to us during all of those months to actually look
and see how many toilets were in the restroom. We thought, Well, there is a
restroom on the plan. We just assumed that there would be three or four toilets in
there. And it is still just the one.

M: OK. That is interesting.

B: We seemed to be so consumed with the public space, to make sure that the public
space was right, the art storage space was right, and the loading dock was spaced
right. Our whole focus was on the artwork [so] that we forgot things like toilets.


-13-









M: Right. [You forgot about things] for yourselves. How do you feel now about your
offices and your working areas? Do you feel like they are [adequate]? Are you
satisfied with them? Would you go back and change anything at this point?

B: I am in the lap of luxury downstairs. [laughter] We have undoubtedly one of the
best registration/preparation areas in any museum that I have [seen]. Budd Bishop
was responsible for that. He planned and designed it. He stood by during the
construction of the building and insisted that "this area will not be cut. We will have
this workspace and this loading dock and these storerooms." It is a tremendous
facility behind the scenes and [in] the lower levels. When other museum colleagues
come in and tour the space, everyone is generally impressed with the galleries and
the upstairs, but you can hear people literally gasp when they come downstairs and
see the behind-the-scenes rooms.

M: So you feel like it is working very effectively, then?

B: Yes. Let me tell the story that Mr. Bishop tells everybody. He says he is going to
embellish this after I leave the museum in a few weeks. One of the shows that we
opened with was the Dutch and Flemish paintings from the Blaffer collections [the
Collections of the Sarah Campbell Blaffer Foundation]. [They are] huge, huge
paintings. In fact, that exhibition was one that we had at the Evansville Museum [of
Arts and Sciences] when I worked there. When we had it in Evansville, we could not
exhibit one of the paintings because the crate was too big to unpack it. It took at
least six people five days to get the show uncrated and in the gallery and installed.
So knowing that it was the same exhibition, that is what I planned for this space. In
fact, our facility is so beautifully planned that the truck comes in, and huge crates
come right off of the truck onto the dock and into the freight elevator--we have these
huge doors--and up to the gallery, and you are into the space. It took us--half the
people [as we had in Evansville]--three days to get the show in. The single reason
is because this museum works so well. The building works so well that it enables us
to do a lot of things that a lot of museums have more difficulty with.

M: How about you, LeJene? Do you feel like you have places for entertaining
supporters? Do you feel like you have adequate [facilities]?

N: Oh, yes, more than adequate. The museum lends itself beautifully to opening
receptions. Our office space is more than adequate. It is the nicest office that I
have had. The building itself is really beautifully laid out. Mr. Bishop told me before
we moved into the museum that after about the first six months we would ease into
our jobs that we had been hired to do. Peggy would be the registrar; that would be
her hat. I would be executive secretary.

M: Do you still get the urge to make sure everything is going along and ... [laughter]


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N: There is still that enthusiasm and camaraderie. I enjoy the job very much. It is
continually changing because exhibitions change. However, I do not believe we
could ever capture that exhilarating excitement [that we had] in the very beginning
[and] in the first two to three years. I do not think we can recapture that, because it
was unique to that time.


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