Meet the Staff: Lauren Turner

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LAUREN TURNER is Assistant Curator for the Collection.

TurnerHow long have you been at the Ackland?
I started at the Ackland in January 2009 as a Curatorial Assistant.

What brought you to the Ackland?
My long-term goal was to work in a museum, and I was an undergraduate alumna of the Art Department at UNC-Chapel Hill. When the job posted, it seemed like it was a sign from the universe to return to campus. Also, in her annoying habit of inevitably being right, my mother told me that I would be an idiot to not apply.

What do you do at the Ackland?
My current title is “Assistant Curator for the Collection,” but it encompasses more than researching, growing, and exhibiting the almost 18,000 objects of our collection. I also coordinate catalogue publications, act as a project manager (and sometimes curator) for our changing exhibitions, and introduce interns and student assistants to the many different types of tasks in a museum career.

What is a memorable Ackland experience?
I invested a lot of effort and annoyed a lot of people so that I could bring into our permanent collection an example of an autochrome (one of the first formats of color photography). The trick is, autochromes are notoriously difficult to display safely and impressively, so it was a real thrill for me when our preparators, Nathan and Joel, successfully constructed an apparatus to do so for including it in PhotoVision: Selections from a Decade of Collecting.

What is your favorite thing about working at the Ackland?
Growing a collection while helping to manage a rotating exhibition schedule allows me to embrace both long-term and short-term perspectives in arts administration. One minute I can be worrying about upgrading storage so it protects our cultural heritage centuries into the future, and the next I can be hunting down billboard rental costs for a Felix Gonzalez-Torres loan.

SEE. MORE. ART.: What is your favorite arts experience in the Triangle?
My first post-grad job was as Curator at Flanders Gallery in downtown Raleigh. I very much enjoyed my time there, and I have been so proud to see it continue its ambitious reach for the past decade. It always receives the lion’s share of my cheerleading for non-Ackland exhibition spaces!