The Museum of Art & History at the McPherson Center

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Finding Picasso… and other Visitor Encounters

Posted by on July 14, 2012

The Visitor Services team is excited to start sharing their visitor encounters from the front desk. We are (in no particular order) Mary Kopp, Sarah Groh, Katie Chrivia, Kai Hanson and Diana Kapsner. You will occasionally see a visitor encounter from some museum interns as well.


Wednesday, April 11

A woman visiting from England came in the museum today. She commented on how fond of the history gallery she was and in particular Louden Nelson’s story, so much so that tears were streaming down her face as she read it. As she was explaining this to me she started getting teary eyed and choking back her words. I wrote her out directions to his burial site at Evergreen Cemetery, which is a historic site managed by the MAH, and the Louden Nelson Community Center. Perfect example of being a historical reference point for Santa Cruz.

Diana Kapsner, Visitor and Volunteer Services Manager


Wednesday, June 6

Today the sweetest family came in and fixed the typewriter used in the

Thanks for making this happen, Will

exhibitions. Will, Cathy and Hannah are Santa Cruz residents who decided to come in for the first time because of all the articles Will has been seeing about Nina Simon in the local papers. He was curious to know who Nina was and where she came from because “she’s a go-getter and that’s what places [like MAH] needs.” I told him about Nina’s engineering background and her start at science centers (something I learned from a lecture of hers at UC Santa Cruz in 2010). Will remarked, “That answers my question! She has an engineering background!”

He saw that I had the typewriter behind the front desk and came around asking “What’s that clickity-clack back there?” I told him that we’ve been having trouble with it. Coincidentally Will has a lot of experience using clickity-clacks. He showed me exactly how it’s supposed to work and proceeded to undo all the damage that’s been done to it. At one point, when he was stumped, he paused and smiled “This sure is an interactive museum!”

– Diana Kapsner


Sunday, June 10

Today, a married couple from New York, with AAM membership cards, came into the Museum. After I gave them an introduction to the MAH and its layout, they looked around the atrium and immediately noticed Younhee Paik’s Night Flight piece hanging above the hallway entrance. “Oh there it is!” one of them exclaimed.  “We really love her work; we traveled 2,000 miles just to see this!” After they admired her work for a bit, they excitedly headed upstairs. An hour later, they came down and stopped by the desk, “We’ve been to museums all over the world and this is now one of our favorites” the man said.

His wife laughed and added, “He usually complains about Museums so this is a good sign.”

“Yes,” he said, “the British Museum is too big… but this one, perfect.”

– Katie Chrivia, Visitor Services


Thursday, June 21

As I was covering my first front desk shift on the afternoon of Thursday, June 21, a mother and son entered the museum. After a brief chat about their available time to enjoy the museum, they passed the front desk to enter the museum. Almost at the end of the desk, the boy, I’d say 7 or 8 years of age, stopped, turned and with large, hopeful eyes asked, “Do you have any Picasso blue paintings?” I was sorry to have to tell him that I didn’t think so but that we did have paintings by people his age he may enjoy. While he was clearly disappointed, the pair later walked out of the museum with smiles and talked about their plans to return to the museum soon.

– Brenda Lee Johnston, Community Research Intern