Now the Morgan Library’s Austen exhibit is sadly over; and we know that some Janeites flew across the country to see it, and we have to say they were rewarded for their pains. Alert Janeite Sarah sent us a link to an article in the New York Times about museum curators that included a bit about the curator of the Austen exhibit, Clara Drummond*.
Going from being a teacher to curator isn’t as great a leap as it seems. “Teaching is about engaging students by telling a good story and that’s what a good curator does, too,” said Clara Drummond, 32, who was the co-curator of “A Woman’s Wit: Jane Austen’s Life and Legacy,” which ran through Sunday at the Morgan Library and Museum in Manhattan.
One of Ms. Drummond’s biggest challenges when faced with presenting Austen, her world and her letters was figuring out how to best engage the audience. “It could be deadly boring,” Ms. Drummond admitted. But because she saw Austen’s letters as “little puzzles” she put a lot of them in frames on the walls because, as she explained, “in glass cases you feel distanced from them.” She also paired the letters with satirical prints by artists like James Gillray and drawings by William Blake and was involved in the production of a 16-minute film with personalities like Fran Lebowitz, Cornell West and Colm Toibin talking about Austen.
“We need to reach beyond the museum walls,” she said.
We think she did a lovely job of presenting the letters and manuscripts and also of placing them in context. (And we think she is the Clara who commented on this post on AustenBlog!) Who else made it to the exhibition?
*Doesn’t that sound like the perfect name for an Austen heroine? (And a thousand points that don’t mean anything to the first commenter who can tell us of a character named Drummond in JA’s novels.)