Jocelyn Krueger is the Collections Manager/Registrar for the Museum of Art at Grinnell College. Thank you Jocelyn for your membership, sharing your time, and talent with us!
What’s one thing you learned in the past month?
My mom has been translating her dad’s war diary from when he was separated and then reunited with his wife and my mom’s older siblings while escaping Latvia and WWII. It is filled with amazing cultural and harrowing tidbits, all written dryly (partly in code to keep my grandfather’s loyalties a secret from the Nazis and the Soviets, and partly because of the type of analytical mind he had). All are things I never knew about my family. There is a part where he returns home from his forestry job only to find the house empty, rye dough still stuck to the kitchen wall in preparation for a meal that never came. The dough bizarre indication that everyone else had just left.
Later the family was in a shelter in Dresden, or another German city (I am still unclear) while it was being bombed and they again survived another bombing when the refugee ship they were on was struck on its way to Scandinavia. My mom has shared pictures and news articles about the ship, as well as DP id photos of my grandfather. All of this was something I sort of knew the big picture of when growing up, but not having access to the language and family being unable to share these stories meant I never knew these details until recently. Lessons for the future, I suppose.
If you could trade places with anyone for a day, who would it be?
I don’t really feel like I should, can, or want to trade places with anyone. I feel like I should only try to be myself and a better self everyday. I do wish, however, that my younger self could be allowed to be pieces of me now or have been allowed to flirt with fragments of my future self. I wish that I had been allowed to be socialized, or just be, the gender I am and was, and not what others made me try to be. I often find myself now living out pieces of a girlhood I was never allowed to fully embody. At the same time, I also want for myself then to be recognized by others as me too, and not deny my self now all those experiences and accomplishments that are too a part of who I am.
Coffee or Tea?
I dearly love the smell of coffee, but I cannot stand to drink it. Though I wish it wasn’t so, it just tastes bad to me. When I was living alone, I bought a coffee maker and nice coffee and just brew it over and over, without drinking it, just for the smell. My partner and colleagues are coffee drinkers, so I now live vicariously through them.
I like tea and hot herbal drinks a lot. Most Falls, my partner and I will gather a bunch of herbs, leaves, and flowers and make an annual herbal blend that we can then enjoy through Winter and Spring. It is usually too much for us to drink in a year, so we could skip making it, but we usually don’t. Right now, I am enjoying some dehydrated strawberry top morning brew from our harvest this summer.
I am rereading Catherynne Valente’s Space Opera. The RPG Coyote & Crow Core Rulebook and Vivek Shraya’s People Change are next on my list.
What did you want to be when you were growing up?
I wanted desperately to be myself, but if we’re talking about careers, I could say an artist like many people I know who also say that they “drew or painted from an early age.” But I suppose I might also say maybe I wanted to be a registrar or collections manager, even if I didn’t know what that was, because while I did make art from an early age, I also cataloged and arranged things from an early age too. I alphabetized my books and made cross referencing lists of my music by genre, record label, and more. Little-me even made card catalogs of all my stuffies, complete with thumbnail drawings and metadata about its physicality (how big it is, soft or not soft), where it went (on or under my bed, in the closet), but also, best of all, imaginary data, like what kind of car it might drive, or its favorite ice cream, or superpower. In my day job, I often find myself getting inspiration from that child-me approach to imaginary metadata, or an intensely personal relationship to cataloging or collections. I would love to explore this more, though would probably not be allowed to snuggle up with any of our paintings at night or keep them under my bed or let them drive a car.
What do you enjoy most about being a part of an academic museum?
I love making material, artwork, and information available to students and researchers and seeing all the creative ways students come up with to learn from and use the material.
What are your hopes for our industry?
I hope that our industry can stop performing harm, that we can change from the racist and colonial structures in which we were formed. I hope to see the labors of everyone valued and compensated, that we can recognize all forms of different unpaid labor and pay for it. I hope to see a ceding of authority and power and structure and programing and property, and a welcoming of more kinds of knowledge, understanding, and feelings not usually welcomed in artcademia. I hope to be better at educating and learning and acting and more. I hope to be beautifully obsolete and be full of infinite and measured sharing and love.
At the same time, I find myself watching dystopian dramas on television and saying out loud “I don’t want future.” I hope for less of that.
Bonus: A joke that our youngest has been bantering about the studio for years is:
A pile up.
A pile up who?
Ha! You said a pile of poo!