Devin E. Geraci is the Associate Director of Operations at the University of New Mexico Art Museum, and current member of our AAMG Conference Committee working to plan the 2024 Virtual Conference and the 2025 Annual Conference in New Mexico. Thank you Devin for your membership and work with AAMG!
What’s one thing — either industry/work-related or not — you learned in the past month?
I recently moved into the role of Associate Director at the UNM Art Museum, so I’ve been learning a lot of new things like excel formulas, record retention policies, and the nuances of trying to pay collaborators through the university system. This new role has been a crash course in navigating university administration.
What do you value about your membership with AAMG?
The opportunity to learn alongside colleagues who face similar issues due to the nature of working within a university structure. I really enjoy the AAMG conferences because the topics discussed are always much more relevant and applicable than broader industry conferences.
If you could trade places with anyone for a day, who would it be?
Does my answer have to be human? Because if not, my cat. I’d love to spend my day just lying in the sun, asleep. But if we’re sticking with humans… someone who is lying in the sun, asleep on a beach.
Coffee or Tea?
Coffee. There’s a great coffee shop across the street where most of our staff are regulars. The team there is always so friendly and has my order memorized. I love that I can walk in, and they already know what I want. Thanks, Satellite!
My all-time favorite series is Clive Barker’s Abarat. Barker is mostly a horror author, but Abarat demonstrates his masterful worldbuilding for a fantasy audience. He also completed hundreds of oil paintings to illustrate the series and bring his world to life.
What did you want to be when you were growing up?
I vividly remember wanting to be an archaeologist at the age of 5. I’m not sure how I even knew what that was, but I suspect it had to do with my mom’s love for Indiana Jones. Growing up, my aspirations always changed, but were always related to my love of learning. I think it makes sense that I ended up in the world of museums with no intentions of ever leaving.
What do you enjoy most about being a part of an academic museum?
Mentoring students. In the five years that I’ve worked at UNMAM, I’ve had the joy of managing over 40 students from across disciplines and at various points in their studies. Our student employees usually stay with us for a few years, so it’s really exciting to get to know them and watch them grow through their college career. And it’s even more exciting to see them move into their careers after graduating!
What are your hopes for our industry?
I think that academic museums are uniquely positioned to serve as a leading training ground to support the next generation of emerging museum leaders. I hope that academic museums will lean into that responsibility and help break down the barriers of accessing professional roles. It’s so important that academic museums can offer students the space to make meaningful contributions to their organizations early in their careers.
Bonus: Do you have a favorite joke to share?
What’s the difference between an alligator and a crocodile? One will see you later, and the other will see you in a while.
Early in my career, I worked as an Educator at the Museum of Florida History. We offered a school program about state symbols, which includes the alligator as the state reptile. This was how I would kick off the program, though I may have been the only one who found it funny.