Name: Sue Superneau
Occupation: Museum Security Officer at the Williams College Museum of Art (WCMA)
How long have you lived in the area?
All my life, over 60 years.
Do you have family around Williamstown?
Not in Williamstown, in North Adams.
How long have you been working at WCMA?
At the College Museum about eight years, going on the ninth year. And working for the College, I was two years up at Mt. Hope, at the mansion.
What did you do before that?
I was a real estate broker and raised four children. Now I’m enjoying four grandchildren.
How has the museum or its use changed in the time you’ve been working here?
Not a whole lot of change except that there’s more activity with the students. We enjoy having the student monitors, so there’s a constant change of students working in the galleries with us. We get a different group of students each year, so we get to know them on that basis and it becomes more personal. They usually sign up for the same shifts, so you get to know some of them pretty well, because they’re always coming in the same days as you. Some of the kids that we’ve had for four years, we’ve really grown attached to and we wonder what’s happened to them after they leave school.
Do you have a favorite piece in the permanent collection?
We constantly change our exhibits. My favorite piece is probably Death on the Ridge Road, by Grant Wood. With the changing of exhibits, we don’t leave a lot of pieces out continually, but that seems to be a favorite that people come to see. Along with all the Prendergasts.
Do you recall a particular temporary exhibition as a favorite?
The one that seemed to me to blow people away was the Chihuly exhibit [Dale Chihuly Seaforms, May-August 1996] that we had about two years ago, which was glass. They did do a lot of advertising and the show became popular, but a lot of it was word of mouth. The pieces were extraordinary. It was just an exhibit where people came in and just stood there with their mouths open. That’s probably been our most popular.
How many visitors come to the museum on a typical day?
It varies with the seasons, like January and February are very slow. The students are gone. We don’t get the winter visitors as much coming in to the area to ski as we do in the summer when they’re coming in for the theatre. We have an ongoing education department that brings in school tours daily.
What’s your favorite part of the job?
Meeting the people, talking to the people. It’s a lot of fun. It’s a small world and we get people from all over the world coming into the museum.
What’s the most exciting time you can remember from your time at the museum?
I think the excitement is seeing the exhibits start from news releases and watch the curators work and then prepare the exhibit and then finally see the opening. When you see it from the conversation and talking phases to the final phase of opening, it’s really exciting to see. And as I say, the art world changes so every exhibit’s different.