Reflections from the front lines


I’ve only been working at VMFA for two months now, yet in such short time an intimate relationship has developed. A casual appreciation for “beauty” has begun to blossom into a deeper understanding of history, art, and even people. See, while many flow through the museum each day, I have one job: Watch.

I watch the art, I watch the building, and I watch the patrons. I am just one of several museum associates keeping an eye on things. Associates are found sprinkled around VMFA — recognized by our matching black polo shirts and eagerness to help you. We range from students attending VCU to retired state employees. But Associates all share an ever-growing appreciation of our museum’s collection.

As a museum associate, I can lose my entire day in one gallery. While there, I’ve attended several docent tours, absorbed countless critiques, and let my gaze linger over every brush stroke. Many patrons tell me I have a great job — spending so much time with amazing works. It really is true, but I have to say…

From my post on the sidelines, I have heard a toddler identify 20th-Century artists by their works alone, saw a woman cry out in front of Tiffany’s church windows, and observed as a couple shared their first dance as man and wife under our “Large Leaping Hare”. Spending so much time with the art is an experience, but it will never be the only thing in our museum that amazes me.

– Nathan Wood, VMFA Museum Associate