ALICE SOUTHWICK is the Manager of the Ackland Museum Store.
How long have you been at the Ackland?
I came to the Ackland prior to the opening of the Ackland Museum Store in 2010 to help with getting the Store launched. I became the full-time Manager of the Store in March 2011.
What brought you to the Ackland?
I jumped at the chance to work with the Ackland since I’d seen a couple of exhibitions and I loved the people I was meeting. Everyone on staff was so enthusiastic and dedicated. It seemed just the kind of place I would like to work.
What do you do at the Ackland?
I manage the Ackland Museum Store which is a job I love since it involves working directly with lots of people–both within the Museum and University but also the general public. I enjoy meeting people and derive a lot of energy from getting people excited about the Ackland Art Museum and the Store.
What is a memorable Ackland (or Museum Store) experience?
There have been so many, but I distinctly remember coming to the Ackland prior to working here. There was an exhibition on Aldwyth (Aldwyth: work v. / work n.: Collage and Assemblage 1991 – 2008) that I came to see with a couple of friends from Raleigh. I was really knocked out by the exhibition and the Museum. I likened the Museum in my mind to some of the smaller museums I had encountered in Europe–it had an intimacy that I found delightful.
What is your favorite thing about working at the Museum Store?
Definitely the people. I have an amazing and talented group of people who work with me in the Store and I am extremely fond of them. We seem to bond over the experience–even when some of them have moved on to other things, we remain good friends. Our customers are the best, too. They are loyal and wonderful people who enjoy coming to the Museum and to the Store. They are passionate about supporting what the Ackland is trying to do by keeping its exhibitions free, educating people of all ages, and being involved in its community.
SEE. MORE. ART.: What is your favorite arts experience in the Triangle?
I’m a gallery hopper and I love going to galleries for the openings, especially of people I know. I live in Raleigh so First Fridays are a big thing there and lots of fun.
BONUS QUESTION: What has been your favorite exhibition that has been on view at the Museum Store?
Each of our shows in the Store has been pretty unique, but one of the earliest ones we did was really fun. It was an exhibition of Ron Liberti’s posters from the last 20 years. We had this huge wall of Ron’s colorful posters for local bands over the years. Ron went all out and even did one-of-a-kind t-shirts. We had a band and it was so much fun to talk with people who were buying the posters about their time as students at UNC during the late ’80s and ’90s. They are now raising families and engrossed in their own careers so it was a fun “blast from the past” event for them.