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Art Museum Staff Spotlight

Shaiman is Curious for Art M

iami University Art Museum’s Curator of Exhibitions, Jason Shaiman, came to Oxford in August 2010 after working at the University of South Carolina’s McKissick Museum for 12 years. Spending most of his early life in the suburbs north of Philadelphia, Jason frequently returned to New York City to visit his extended family. Those trips routinely included a visit to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. He remembers seeing the original traveling exhibition of The Treasures of Tutankhamen in the 1970s. His high school plans of becoming an architect ended after only a few semesters in college. Attending the Indiana University of Pennsylvania, near Pittsburgh, he was required to take an art history course. It just clicked. A few years earlier he spent five weeks hosteling his way around Europe. What he saw during his trip was incredible. However, learning the history of the world’s many great treasures in the Louvre, Uffizi and the Rijksmuseum excited him. Jason entered graduate school at the University of South Carolina. While completing his Masters in Art History, he enrolled in the Museum Studies program and began working as a graduate assistant to the then Chief Curator of Exhibitions at McKissick Museum. His path was set. In fact, he eventually became the Chief Curator, a position he held for four years prior to his arrival in Oxford. One of the highlights of his work at McKissick, was serving as the Project Manager for a 2,000 square foot exhibition on 300 years of Jewish life in South Carolina.

When asked what he loves most about his job, he shared, “exploring, studying and developing exhibitions to help others appreciate the arts. I love the fact that every day I can come to work and learn something new, I can learn about new and old artists I’ve never heard about, and I can figure out how to incorporate them into an exhibition.” Of the nearly 17,000 objects in the collection, his favorite item is a Greek Amphora. What intrigues Jason most about this piece is “the aesthetic treatment of the surface decoration of an object that was utilitarian, not intended to one day be in a museum.” His favorite recent acquisition at MUAM is a series of photographs from Russia taken by Margaret BourkeWhite. “My family is from Russia and I had a chance in graduate school to visit the Golden Ring between Moscow and St. Petersburg. When I see these photos, I can’t help but imagine the places I visited and what my family may have experienced had they not immigrated to the United States.” Beyond working at the museum, Jason enjoys spending time with his family including his wife Amy (a Miami alumna and employee) and 1-year old son, Teddy. He also enjoys fishing, billiards and golfing. The thing that keeps Jason constantly driven and interested in his job is that he learns with each and every exhibit. There is a lot of research done with each exhibition and each one has something new to offer. It not only helps the visitors learn and remain engaged, but he reaps the benefits as well.

Curator by day, Curious George enthusiast by night, Shaiman lives and breathes art, history and a passion for sharing his knowledge with others.

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Profile for Miami University Art Museum

Miami University Art Museum - Fall 2014 - visual arts @ miami  

Miami University Art Museum - Fall 2014 - visual arts @ miami A publication of Visual Arts exhibitions, programs, and events at Miami Unive...

Miami University Art Museum - Fall 2014 - visual arts @ miami  

Miami University Art Museum - Fall 2014 - visual arts @ miami A publication of Visual Arts exhibitions, programs, and events at Miami Unive...

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