Posts Tagged ‘Stanford’

Stanford Bound

Photo of the Cantor Art Center at Stanford

Photo by Thomas Hawk (

As I get older, and I see my life progressing, the years literally seem to go by in a blink of the eye. One year ago, almost exactly, I posted about a new job I was starting at a company called zetcom. What a difference a year makes. The position there, while satisfying from an knowledge gaining perspective, always left me wanting more. The reason for this? – I have always longed to be back at a museum – especially an art museum.

In San Jose, where I live, there are NOT a lot of options for art museum work. In fact it’s only the San Jose Museum of Art (SJMA) where I used to work years ago. San Francisco is relatively close (50 miles away) and there have been many great possibilities in “the city”, but the commute has made it difficult to apply for any jobs there. People in big cities outside of California, with great transit systems, don’t understand that a commute to SF would easily be 3-4 hours daily roundtrip. Maybe that is normal for some, but I want to see my family every now and then, if I can.

For years I have been watching another relatively close art museum (21 miles in Palo Alto) for the right position to be posted, and recently it finally was… and, I was hired for it. Today I am pleased to announce that I will be returning to museum life at the Cantor Art Center, located at Stanford University, in the role of Digital Media Manager. The position closely resembles the one which I had at the San Jose Museum of Art which I loved so much, with one exception – this job has Stanford University and all the incredible resources  it provides. I am thrilled to be working with the staff there, along with the students, instructors, departments, etc.

Initially, my big focus will be on a redesign of their website with close integration of their permanent collection archive. I’ll also be overseeing their social media channels along with cross department and interdisciplinary digital projects. There will also be some opportunities with in-gallery interactives.

Years ago after I had conceived of my position at SJMA and presented it to the director, I felt a tremendous amount of satisfaction that I had found my career in life, or my life’s “calling”. I worked hard at that job and did a lot of work to raise awareness of the museum among it’s peers. My time there was cut too short, however, due to the economic crash of 2008 and a new director that had to make some quick decisions.  My sense of purpose and meaning was very strong in my role as Manager of Interactive Technology at SJMA and it made life great. I know there will be some big differences at Stanford, but I’m hoping I can regain some of this “purpose and meaning” again. I am extremely thankful for the opportunities my job at SJMA provided over the years – most notably my time with the amazing people at Toura (now defunct).

There will be a lot of adjustments I have to make with this new position versus my last two. For instance, I’ll be commuting for the first time in years. In fact, I’ll be commuting by train which I have never done before, but I admit – I’m kind of looking forward to. I’ll also be away from home where I have worked for the last 5 years – so no more being home for the boys when they arrive home, no more easy pickups (sorry Jen), and not as much cooking, which I love to do. Additionally, while working at home has its benefits, not having direct contact with humans can start taking it’s toll. I’m definitely looking forward to being in a room with people for meetings.

Over the coming weeks I’m sure I’ll be directing a lot of questions toward the museum community. I hope you’ll take the time to get back to me on what your museum does or anecdotes you have from your work with museums. I’m looking forward to everything that lies ahead!