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The Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens is committed to engage and inspire through the arts, gardens and education. A permanent collection of nearly 5,000 works of art on a riverfront campus offers more than 95,000 annual visitors a truly unique experience on the First Coast. Nationally recognized education programs serve adults and children of all abilities.

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Introducing Matthew Patterson, Museum Educator

Jul

15

MatthewAt the beginning of June I became the newest addition to the Education staff here at the Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens.  I filled the open position of Museum Educator and took on the responsibilities of leading school tours, teaching classes, and developing art projects for all ability levels.

Of course, the start of any new job is a unique experience.  But what makes mine particularly unusual is that I am not a new employee to the Museum.  At this point I have been at The Cummer for nearly two years.  I was originally employed as a part-time Visitor Services Associate working at the front desk selling admission tickets, handing out maps of the museum, and of course, writing blog posts.  Then about a year ago I was asked to lend a hand in the education department while they were short staffed.  I gladly accepted as it would mean more hours, a change of routine, and a chance to utilize my background in art.

Which brings up the other unusual part about me becoming the Cummer’s newest educator.  It was actually during that time a year ago that I had my first taste of teaching.  What I discovered was not only that I enjoyed it but that I actually had a natural ability for it.  Who knew?  All of my adult life I’d never considered being a teacher, until here I was actually doing the job and feeling the most fulfilled I ever had in any position.  So naturally when a full-time educator job opened up, I leapt at it.

But, as you can probably guess from the time line of events, I didn’t get the job.

Disappointed but with a renewed focus I returned to the front desk.  I continued to work there until earlier this year I was in the familiar position of assisting a short-handed Education department.  Sure enough, not long after that another educator position opened up.  I applied but did not dare to hope I’d get it, but to my surprise I got an interview!  And then another.  And then, after telling myself not to get my hopes up I got the phone call asking if I wanted the job.

Which brings us back to the present.  I’ve been in my new role for a month and in that time I’ve already led tours, aided with support group meetings, and taught two weeks of Summer camp.  All while utilizing my background and training as an artist.

It’s a rare opportunity when you can find a job that does not feel like work.  Where you enjoy coming in each day and value the company of your peers.  That is something I found when I began working at The Cummer.  The fact that I am now more deeply involved in shaping its future only serves to strengthen that feeling.

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