Meet the team: Sami Norling
How I got here: I’ve lived in Indianapolis since June 2011, when I moved here before beginning my graduate programs in Library Science and Public History at Indiana University-Indianapolis. The depth and variety of the cultural life in Indianapolis surprised me, and I was hooked from Day 1. While I originally saw Indianapolis as a way-station to starting my career back in DC or my hometown of Minneapolis, the pull to stay here was undeniable and I feel very fortunate that this opportunity opened up at the IMA. Archival experience at the Scottish Rite of Freemasonry Museum and Library, the Indiana Historical Society, Library of Congress Manuscript Division, IUPUI Digital Collections, and the Association of American Medical Colleges all led me to my current role as Archivist here at the Indianapolis Museum of Art.
Documenting Modern Living duties: General project management; scanning collection material; metadata entry in Archon; occasional Tumblr contributor
Favorite MHGC find: In my work with the Miller House and Garden collection thus far, I have gravitated toward materials related to the acquisition of Eames furniture for the house. During a previous stint at the Library of Congress, I had the opportunity to process portions of the Papers of Charles and Ray Eames, and I was delighted to find some related material in the MHGC. While the colorful fabric samples are an immediate attention-grabber in this collection, the correspondence that documents the relationship between homeowners and designer can be just as intriguing. In an exchange of letters between Alexander “Sandro” Girard and Mr. Miller, Girard states,”Eames sofa makes me tremble in my boots,” as J. Irwin Miller had just placed all responsibility for the outcome of the Eames order on Girard.
Best thing about my job: Working with creative people who are dedicated to their field, after-hours lectures and programs, interesting archival collections (the old exhibition files are my favorite)—pretty much everything that comes with working in an art museum.
Favorite item in the IMA collection: As an archivist who primarily works and thinks in aggregates, I’m going to have to cheat and choose the entire contemporary design collection. If I ever need a quick break from the archives, I usually end up in the Contemporary Design galleries.
When I’m not working, I’m probably doing this: On my days and nights off, I can generally be found out-and-about in Indianapolis. Though I’ve lived here for nearly three years, it seems that there is always a new restaurant, shop, neighborhood, etc. to discover.
Follow Sami Norling on Twitter @SamiNorling