June 2022, Molly Cannon and Jessica Kinsey

June Members of the Month:
Molly Boeka Cannon, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Anthropology and Executive Director Museum of Anthropology, Utah State University
Jessica Kinsey, Executive Director, Southern Utah Museum of Art, Southern Utah University

We are a little excited this month with our trip out to Utah and decided a double feature was in store! Join us in celebrating TWO colleagues this month!

Molly Boeka Cannon, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor of Anthropology and the Executive Director for the Museum of Anthropology at Utah State University.

Jessica Kinsey, is the Executive Director for the Southern Utah Museum of Art at Southern Utah University.

Whether you’re joining us in person or virtually for #AAMG2022, you’ll be able to see both Molly and Jessica throughout various conference sessions-Jessica is even leading our excursion to the Spiral Jetty and the Golden spike. Thank you Molly and Jessica for your membership, sharing your time, and talent with us!

What’s one thing — either industry/work-related or not — you learned in the past month? 

MBC: I recently participated in a gathering of academics, state agencies, Tribal elders and members, artists, and community members to talk about the effects of railroads on indigenous communities. There were many facts that I learned from those conversations but the major lesson that I took away from the gathering was that everyone with a vested interest has an idea worth sharing and contributing and there is beauty, knowledge, insight, within the diversity of how those ideas are shared.

Molly teaching kids about the Rosetta Stone

JK: I was given a deck of affirmation cards that I keep on my desk. I recently pulled one that said, “I remind myself that there’s nothing, nothing in this world that everyone likes. If someone doesn’t get my work, that’s OK. There are also weirdos people in the world who don’t like pizza–but does that mean pizza is bad? Nope. It means those people are wrong and/or robots. And it’s actually all good because more pizza for us.” It was a well-timed reminder!

Southern Utah University Homecoming 2022

If you could trade places with anyone for a day, who would it be?

MBC: Julia Child – I love to eat – I love to cook – I love France – I would choose a day in 1948 when Julia Child was learning to cook French cuisine. I would probably choose her first day of culinary school because I like a challenge but maybe the day she completed her studies, producing a stunning souffle.

Coffee or tea?

MBC: Coffee in the morning, herbal tea in afternoon and evening

JK: Both! Usually sips of coffee in the morning and detox tea in the afternoon… 

Book/Author suggestion?

MBC: So many – but I this past semester we had our class read Leslie Marmon Silko’s Ceremony and it’s a haunting tale of PTSD and the power of cultural practice for healing.

JK: The book that I have turned to the most throughout my career is Creativity in Museum Practice by Linda Norris and Rainey Tisdale. It’s full of ideas that help when I’m feeling burnt out or completely lost.

What did you want to be when you were growing up?

MBC: An archaeologist who works in a museum.

Molly and students cleaning a Samoan ‘ie toga

JK: I wanted to be an astronaut and even attended Space Camp in Huntsville, Alabama when I was in 4th grade. But once I took an art history course in high school, I knew I was going to work in art museums!

Jessica interviews with Billy Schenck, 2022

What do you enjoy most about being a part of an academic museum?

MBC: I find that working in an academic museum affords me the opportunity to connect teaching and community engagement with my research and by being a part of an academic museum I am constantly shifting between and melding these three domains of my work, connecting me with people and ideas from all spectrums of society.

Molly and student discussing ceramics

JK: All of the incredible resources that come with being on a campus. From IT and Facilities Management to faculty across campus, I love that we have dependable staff to help with museum operations and talented faculty that help me navigate leadership. One of my favorite moments is the homecoming parade because we drive our museum van and give out candy and flyers about SUMA. It’s such a fun way to connect with the campus and community!

Aerial view of the Southern Utah Museum of Art

What are your hopes for our industry?

MBC: My hopes for museums are to remain connected and relevant to our communities, to do better work in the areas of inclusivity and accessibility, and to offer our next generation of museum enthusiasts and professionals a path forward.

JK: My biggest takeaway from running a small museum has been the importance of bending the rules to enhance the visitor experience because it makes museums more accessible, especially for underrepresented communities. It is the only way to become, and remain, relevant. My hope for the future is that institutionalized museums will remember the reason why we exist and be more open to creating a sense of community. Afterall, we should be third spaces for our communities. 

Do you have a favorite joke to share?

MBC: How much did the pirate pay for their piercings? A buck-an-ear

JK: I can’t think of a good one that would translate well for print. All my good ones are knock knock jokes! 😉 – Rest assured colleagues, I’ll be asking Jessica for a knock knock joke as soon as I see her in Utah!