Wednesday, April 9, 2014

And I quote, "The day of the night watchmen is long past"

Anyone ever ignored the security guard at a museum?

I have.

I guess I don't really know why. Maybe it's because I enjoy taking sneaky pics of art that isn't supposed to be photographed and I think that they can read my mind. Or maybe it's just because it's their job to be mean to us, and we all know it. 

I have never contemplated how hard of a job that actually is until I started talking to some of the guards at the arts center. For example Mary, a security guard who, as I quickly found out, is not a "security guard" at all but a "Master Security Officer" trained under strict and militant guidelines to wander through the halls of institutions and be ignored by assholes like me.


Meet Mary. She preferred not to be photographed, 
but did allow me to photograph her awesome badge

Where are you from, Mary? Sheboygan Falls, WI

How long have you been a guard here? 14 years

Have you ever been a guard anywhere else? Yes, I worked for Homeland Security. I was stationed in American Samoa National Park in Hawai'i for 4 months. I got to see Pearl Harbor, and explored the island well, because I didn't know if I'd ever be back.

What is the strangest thing you have seen while on duty here at the arts center? One summer we had the Festival of the Arts and the tornado siren went off and everyone started coming inside so we had to pack everyone in the arts center whether there was room or not. We also had to start packing people into the basement. Soon there were so many people that we decided to put them in the church across the street from the arts center. We were commended for our quick thinking, but boy was that nuts.

What is something everyone should know about being a security officer? It takes a lot of training. We are constantly taking classes and going to seminars. It's very rigorous, and we have to follow a set of military-like rules. That's the difference between a guard and an officer. If someone is a guard they haven't had years and years of training like I have.

Do you have a favorite piece in the Arts/Industry exhibition? Yes, two:

I like them because they just look like you want to touch them, and you can see the texture on them so well. They look like they should be fountains outside.

What other hobbies do you have? Well, I might surprise you. I carve with wood and stone. I've actually sold some of my pieces. Stone I'm still working on and still learning. I took stone carving in college and one day I actually got a call saying that my professor had died and that I was in his will. Turns out he had left me his stone carving tools.


When I was done interviewing Mary I thanked her for allowing me to question her. She's a bold lady who's not afraid to say what she's thinking to anyone. I've actually witnessed her sneaking up behind children who have refused to listen to her warnings not to run around the galleries. So I was slightly surprised when she said, "You're welcome. We're kind of invisible people, you know. It's nice to be quoted."

As a note to all security officers: I can't guarantee I won't stop trying to snap illegal photographs behind your back, but next time I'll smile in your direction and hopefully you can forgive me. 

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