Friday, November 30, 2007


Being a curator is generally not considered a dangerous occupation. Sure, I heard some grim stories in graduate school about textiles experts who spent their careers working in unventilated rooms with things that had used arsenic and lead in the dyeing process, and the bizarre brain cancers that cut their lives short. But by and large, the worst hazards a curator faces in the course of her work are overwork, exhaustion and that terrible coffee the volunteers insist on brewing in the breakroom. Imagine my surprise to find myself a crime victim not once, but twice this week. The first time was bad enough, when robbers entered our office overnight and stole our digital camera and all of our money. The second time felt more personal, as they took my computer.

The museum is located in a fairly sleepy little town, so not surprisingly, this has received a lot of media attention. People keep asking me if insurance will cover it, but that's not the point. I said that I feel unsafe at work, and although two board members have reassured me that it's probably just teenagers who wouldn't mean me any harm, that's not the point either. Being a victim of a robbery like that makes you feel violated in some intangible way. They touched the photo of my sister and I dressed up for Halloween when I was a kid. They dumped out one of the boxes a friend made for me by hand, looking to see if I had any money in it. In my desk drawer was a leatherbound planner my boyfriend gave me for my birthday, which they didn't get, but still. I took all of my personal stuff home with me. I don't want the robbers touching it if they come back.

I can't help but wonder, who would do something like this to a museum? Of all the places to attack. Not that it's OK to hit a for-profit business or a private home, but the museum exists solely to do good things for the community, without ever demanding anything in return. It's supposed to be an egalitarian place, where everyone from the well-to-do to the welfare recipients can come and enjoy an afternoon with their families. It preserves the history of us all, including the robbers. Seriously, what a shitty thing to do. I felt very discouraged, but I think the community is going to step up and help, which makes me feel much better. But not safe, still.


Stella Devine said...

That sounds horrible! I hope you are OK. I can understand the feeling of violation.

momof3gr8kids said...

I'm so sorry this has happened. I understand what you mean about not necessarily being concerned about the things that were taken. It's more about feeling so violated.

Unfortunately, people who are willing to steal like that don't give a rat's behind about the world around them. A museum is just as good a target in their eyes as anywhere else.

Hang in there!