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June 23, 2011 Volume 32, No. 32

The Weekly Staff Meeting: Mary Pixley


Name:  Mary L. Pixley

Work Place: Museum of Art and Archaeology

Title: Associate Curator of European and American Art

Years at MU: 3 years, 8 months

Hometown: McLean, Virginia

Favorite Food: Pasta

Favorite Book:  I love exploring the world by reading a variety of publications. Right now I am reading “The Frogs” by Aristophanes.

Favorite Quote: “Just do it.” While regarding fitness as used by Nike, the phrase captures the passion and determination that I like to bring to life and my job.

What are your current job duties?

Job duties include overseeing art collections, planning and implementing exhibitions and installations, researching, and interpreting works of art, giving lectures and tours, making acquisition recommendations and writing scholarly articles and grants in addition to other tasks.

Why are you passionate about your job?

I am passionate about my job because Museums are about education, and it is through education that we can make the world a better place. Our Museum is encyclopedic in its scope, with artworks spanning from prehistory to the present from around the globe. Thus, the possibilities for learning are endless here, and I feel that there are still undiscovered avenues in our Museum and other museums around the globe for healing the divides that seem to exist in our world.

What is your favorite part about working at Mizzou?

I love the fact that Mizzou is a research university. The possibilities for learning are infinite and collaborations across disciplines can lead to interesting and exciting new results.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

I love the intellectual variety of my job. One moment I might be working an ancient Pre-Columbian textile show and then another day working on a show about contemporary sculpture. I am exceptionally pleased with our latest exhibition “A Midwestern View: The Artists of the Ste. Genevieve Art Colony.” Missouri was one of the few states in the country to play host to an art colony. Some of the artists who painted there were also showing in New York City in the 1930s and 1940s. The Museum is very happy to be able to show the diversity of the artists and the richness of the art produced in Missouri, as well as show the important role of Missouri to both Midwestern art and to American art in general.

How do you spend your time away from the University (hobbies, other jobs, activities, etc.)?

I like to read, study languages, spend time with family and friends, and visit Museums, galleries, and antique shops. I have recently been thinking that it would be nice to begin playing the piano again.

Is there an achievement you've been recognized for as an employee at MU or related to your outside activities that you are proud of? Please describe.

"Service Champion" for the month of January. It is a great honor to receive such an award because nominations are made by colleagues. I love my job because the people with whom I collaborate are very hard working and proactive, they go the extra mile to produce a quality product, and they are all such interesting and kind people.

What her co-workers say…

“Mary is a real pleasure to work with. She is dedicated, thorough, polite, sincere, conscientious, and just a plain hard worker. Her everyday duties involve interacting not just with her colleagues her ein the museum, but with students, faculty, docents, independent scholars, and the general public. She handles it all with class and aplomb.”

— Jeffrey Wilcox, Curator of Collections/Registar at the Museum of Art and Archaeology