I asked Tim to tell me how he got in the museum business …
The summer after third grade, my parents packed my two older brothers and me in our minivan and drove from our home in Orlando to New England. Our first stop was Boston and a walk following the red line of the Freedom Trail. As the trail meandered through the city we stopped at historic markers and sites that told the story of the American Revolution.
I recognize now that because we were actually where the stories were made, they reached me beyond just text and image and connected to me in a physical way. I remember being utterly exhausted as we climbed to see the Bunker Hill Memorial. While I no doubt complained as we hiked, the experience influenced my interests and eventually my profession.
In Boston, I felt that the American Revolution was part of my story, even though, as I later realized, my ancestors immigrated to American at least one hundred years after those events. So, I think that is what I try to do now. Give those who are willing a chance to connect with something. Maybe it’s a memory from their own life, maybe it’s a story they’ve been told before, but never really heard and never realized how it might connect to them.
I grew up visiting museums as they transitioned from “being about something, to being for somebody.” Now as a museum professional I embrace this challenge to not merely be relevant—to not merely display and exhibit—but to become a vital way for individuals and communities to understand themselves, embrace the complexities of their past, and move forward with confident if somewhat weary steps.
Timothy Frilingos is the Exhibits Manager at the Delta Flight Museum. He lives north of Decatur with his wife Beth and three sons. Around this block, Tim is the chair of the All Saints’ Archive Committee and so he helps us with vital practices of the faith: “Understand, Embrace Complexity, and Move Forward.”
I’m the latest archivee! More soon.