MUSE Consultant Profiles
I retired in June 2021 as Director of Programs at the Museum of Arts and Sciences in Macon. My career was spent as education director for historic house museums and multi-discipline museums. My career goal was to "put there a spark" for visitors ranging from young children to adults, as well as museum staff, encouraging them to explore new areas of interest. "Put there a spark" is an idea posed by Anatole France that we don't have to teach people everything we know. It is better to tell the hearer just enough so that they want to know more - to light a spark about a new subject, raise a new, perhaps challenging question about a familiar subject, or open the possibilities for a new life direction.
I'm excited about the possibilities of partnering with institutions through education and interpretation to ignite sparks with their own staff about their missions, with visitors about the content of a museum's collections and focus, and with the public about the place and function of a museum in it's community.
My museum experience (part-time, full-time, and as a consultant) has focused on 19th century house museums in Georgia and Maine and on history, science, and art at the Jekyll Island Museum and the Museum of Arts and Sciences in Macon. I believe strong interpretive planning and research are key to defining and developing a museum’s direction and accomplishing its mission.
I have worked for the Georgia Museum of Art at the University of Georgia since 2006 in various communications roles. I produce books from start to finish, contributing editorial direction, proofing, acquisition of image rights, occasionally scholarly writing, then working with freelance designers and printers around the world, managing budgets, and serving as distributor. I also look at all the other text the museum generates and edit it for content, clarity, and style
Did you read a museum press release? I either wrote it or edited it. Did you see a story about the museum? Chances are good I pitched it. I might also have written it. Follow our Instagram? I plan it and write a large amount of the content. Read our wall labels? They've been across my desk, and I've translated curator-speak into a 12th-grade reading level. Seen a sign anywhere in the building? Yup, that too. I deal with media queries, often serve as the spokesperson for the museum, talk to and manage students, monitor and respond on social, advocate for transparency and directness, try to make the museum a more inclusive space, and sometimes bartend and/or dig recyclable materials out of the trash. Specialties: editing (from substantive to proofreading), writing, research, creating content, museum ethics, logistics, print production, ethical PR, brand management, crisis communications.
With 30 plus years as a professional exhibit designer and fabricator, Rick has
Christa McCay is the Collections Manager for the Marietta History Center and the City of Marietta. Ms. McCay has worked for the Center for the last nineteen (19) years with the past six (6) years expanding to include the City of Marietta. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in History and a Masters’ Degree in Heritage Preservation with an emphasis in Public History from Georgia State University. She has done consulting work for the Folk Pottery Museum in Sautee Nacoochee, GA. She has worked in an advisory role for the Aviation History and Technology Center in Marietta, GA.
She maintains the legal documentation, storage spaces, artifact preservation, and data entry for the Center’s whole collection of over 50,000 artifacts. Her work at the MHC has included writing and updating a Collections Management Policy, Disaster Plan, and Collections Plan. She serves as the Georgia State Representative for the Southeastern Registrars Association.
Victoria Cooke is a professional curator and the Director of Art Galleries at the University of North Georgia where she also teaches contemporary art and exhibition practices. She has two decades of experience in the museum world.
She received a M.A. in Art History at Tulane University in New Orleans. She completed all requirements, save the dissertation, in the PhD program at the University of Delaware before taking the position of Curator of Painting at New Orleans Museum of Art. She has also served in curatorial positions at the Louisiana State University Museum of Art in Baton Rouge and Columbia Museum of Art in Columbia, S.C.
Her research expertise is wide ranging. She has curated major exhibitions on early 19th century American and European art and culture, Impressionism, American Modernism and contemporary African-American Art. She has focused more recently on contemporary art and craft in the Southeastern United States.
In her curatorial roles she has worked to develop new ways to appeal to a contemporary audience, successfully written grants and produced exhibition catalogues. She is committed to the interconnection of curation and education. Due to her wide-ranging experience, she is able to produce successful programming for a variety of budgets – from large to almost nonexistent.She also took on a leadership role in achieving first time accreditation at LSU Museum of Art.
She also took on a leadership role in achieving first time accreditation at LSU Museum of Art.
Dr. Mark Janzen
Dr. Mark Janzen grew up in Houston, Texas with transformative memories of visiting some of the major institutions in the city. He received a bachelor's degree in Anthropology and History from Texas A&M University and had to make the decision between going into professional archaeology or Museum Studies. The University of Texas Tech and its Museum Science program won hands down. Mark worked several jobs in curatorial and collections care before returning to Texas A&M to begin his PhD journey. In the ten years following that, he gravitated towards collections, and became a passionate advocate for museum collections and their care.
After receiving his PhD in American history, focusing on the history of science and technology, in 2010, Mark moved into higher education. As Director of the Museum Studies program for the University of Central Oklahoma, Dr. Janzen became very involved with local and regional efforts to protect endangered archival and object collections, as well as historic structures and sites. Collaborations with a variety of museums and non-profits helped to inspire numerous collections projects and theses. Dr. Janzen came to the University of West Georgia in August of 2022, and hopes to continue his efforts to support museums and collections throughout the state and region.
Dr. Susan Asbury
Susan R. Asbury holds a Ph.D. in American Studies from The Pennsylvania State University at Harrisburg. She completed a B.A. in History at Berry College and an M.A. in Public History and a Certificate in Museum Management at the University of South Carolina. For nearly ten years, she worked in the museum field, gaining experience in state museums, college museums/archives, historic house museums, and a large history center. She has worked at museums in the Southeast as well as the Mid-Atlantic including Berry College’s Oak Hill and the Martha Berry Museum, the South Carolina State Museum, and Strong National Museum of Play. Asbury has worked as a curator, museum educator, and administrator. She has experience and expertise in collections care and management, interpretive planning, museum governance, strategic planning, and exhibit design and development. Since fall 2021, she has served as an assistant professor of history at Middle Georgia State University in Macon and teaches American History and Public History courses. More information is available here.
Dr. Ann McCleary
I’m excited to serve as a consultant for GAM to help museums around the state. I bring over 40 years of experience in museums and public history, with humble beginnings in the Historic Deerfield Summer Fellowship Program, which convinced me that there
In 1997, after 20 years in Virginia, I came to the University of West Georgia to start a public history program. To stay involved and engaged in the field, I founded the Public History Center at UWG, a community engagement and research center which has assisted regional, state, and national partners in public history and museums projects. My work at the Center has expanded my expertise in all areas of public history, including museums and project management and administration. I also founded the Museum Studies Program with the Atlanta History Center, so our students could gain hands-on, specialized experience at one of Atlanta’s leading museums. I have thoroughly enjoyed working with and learning from the AHC professional staff, who have helped keep me current in the field. Perhaps one of my most exciting and engaging museum experiences has been with the Smithsonian Institution Museum on Main Street and Georgia Humanities serving as the state humanities scholar for five MoMS exhibits and working with 48 community partner teams hosting the exhibit around the state on capacity building for their institutions and preparing for the exhibit. Most recently, I had the opportunity to co-curate a national MoMS exhibit on rural America, which is now touring across the county (and came to Georgia during the pandemic year).
Now that I have retired from teaching, I want to stay involved in the museum and public history field. I bring a wide array of experience and am available to consult in a variety of areas—including but not limited to administration, exhibits, interpretation and education, collections management, historic preservation, and others. I have worked in this capacity for museums across Georgia for the Museum on Main Street exhibits. Just this year, I was honored to receive the Lifetime Achievement Award from GAM, recognizing my work in the field. I welcome the opportunity to assist however I can.