Curatorial Envy

You would think that a museum curator would want to avoid museums while on vacation but that hasn’t been the case with me! During a recent trip to Tucson, Arizona, I had the chance to visit a few of the museums that are located on the campus of the University of Arizona. Each of these is a little gem and, like our site, each is free. For better or worse, however, they have afflicted me with a lingering case of curatorial envy. At the Arizona State Museum ( it was the Wall of Pots that did it. A recent installation, this exhibit is an excellent example of a stunningly simple way to display three-dimensional objects from a variety of angles. Selected from a nationally recognized collection of Southwest pottery, the one hundred and fifty pots are set on clear shelves that are mounted at various levels inside an eighteen-foot high curving glass case. The exhibit effectively conveys a rich trove of information in a limted space without overwhelming the visitor. What really did it, however, was the “Curatorial” room I snuck a peek into at the Center for Creative Photography ( Located on the floor above the three exhibit halls, which were filled with works by photographers such as Ansel Adams, Edward Weston and Paul Strand, this room has a wonderfully enormous work table that is surrounded by cupboards, drawers, shelving units and various other workspaces. I should have resisted looking through that door! I can’t help wondering what delightful tools of the trade are tucked away in those beautiful spaces. If you are ever in the Tucson area and have some time to spare, be sure to check out these sites. They are well worth the trip.

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