My career has spanned more than 30 years, and includes work on more than 40 exhibitions. Please download a copy of my CV for more information (visit www.adobe.com to install Adobe Acrobat Reader).
Becoming an anthropologist was the natural evolution of falling in love with Mexico as a child. I studied Mexico's languages, history and culture throughout high school,college and grad school. After college, I was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship to study at the National School of Anthropology in Mexico City. It was the year of a lifetime - working every day in the Ethnographic and Textile Collections of the amazing Museum of Anthropology and taking classes every evening from some of Mexico's great scholars in archaeology and ethnography. I was taken under the wing of Irmgard Weitlaner Johnson, Mexico's leading authority of indigenous textiles, and spent countless hours working with her on textile analysis. Every week-end or holiday, like Día de los Muertos, was spent in the field going to market days that seemingly never ended, craft workshops, colonial monasteries, archaeological sites and countless Indian villages.
A point arrived when I realized that I needed more academic structure for understanding what I was experiencing. UCLA's Latin American Studies Program was the place for me and it led me to a doctorate in Cultural Anthropology.
After a series of museum internships in Mexico City, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Museum für Volkerkunde in Basel, I could finally articulate my own reasons for working with anthropology in museum settings. Museums are bridges. They are settings where people can learn about the world around them. From tiny objects to gigantic, the sheer fact of being exposed to a subject in a museum makes it more approachable. In an anthropological context, "other" ways of life are presented in a non-threatening and friendly way. Museum exhibitions reinforce the values and esteem of the people whose cultures are presented. Moreover, museums have a social responsibility to bring people together, not by watering down our differences but by presenting the vast array of human expression in accurate, dignified and accessible ways.
These realizations made anthropology come alive for me in ways that have led to beautiful, engaging and exciting exhibitions which bring cultures, traditions, arts, beliefs and heritage to broad-based, multi-generational audiences.