Behind the Blanton: Morgan McCammon

There have been a lot of new faces at the museum recently, one of which is Morgan McCammon, Grants Manager for the Blanton. Having only been in Austin for two months, we caught up with Morgan to find out how she’s finding life in the Lone Star State.

Morgan McCammon poses in front of Stacked Waters at the Blanton

You recently moved to Austin from Louisville, KY—how are you liking the city? What’s been one of your favorite experiences since moving here?

Austin is amazing and everyone is so friendly. But really, I’m most excited that I can go almost anywhere and play with other people’s dogs. There have been a lot of good experiences in my two months here, but I survived my first South by Southwest so that is what comes to mind. I got to see one of my favorite bands from the front row and they smiled at my enthusiasm. I feel like that’s a pretty special thing that I wouldn’t have experienced elsewhere. My favorite ongoing experience has been acquainting myself with all of the restaurants here. I’ve been eating a lot of tacos from a lot of different places for, you know, research.

What made you want to work in museums? What’s your education background?

I actually kind of fell into the museum world. I have a BA in English and began a part-time museum job while I started work on my Master’s. I was considering a Ph.D. and, after a year of classes, I discovered that I preferred my job because I felt like I was contributing to the city. I expressed some interest in learning the grants process and here I am a few years later…almost to the day.

You used to work at the Speed Museum of Art—are there any differences you’ve found between working there and at the Blanton? Similarities?

The biggest difference is the Blanton being open! I worked at the Speed while the museum was closed for a major renovation and expansion. It’s been really nice to take breaks and get lost in the galleries to recharge. The Blanton and the Speed have a lot of similar artists in their permanent collections, so it’s comforting to see some familiar faces. This is my first time working for a university and it’s definitely nice to be around the engaging energy on campus. Regardless of differences, I feel very fortunate to have museum experience in two cities that are so generous and supportive of the arts.

Most people don’t know that there are a lot of behind-the-scenes jobs that help keep the museum running smoothly. What does a typical workday for you look like?

It definitely depends on how many upcoming deadlines are on the calendar. I like to segment my projects into stages so each day has some variety. I’m always researching, writing, editing, or submitting proposals. I’m lucky because I get to work with most departments on projects. So many of the Blanton’s mission-related activities, from educational programs to collections care, rely on funding from outside supporters. I appreciate collaborating with so many different staff members and exchanging new ideas. That energy definitely makes its way into grant proposals.

Morgan McCammon crying at a Celine Dion concert
The photo in question.

And finally: what’s a weird thing about you that people wouldn’t normally guess? Any unusual hobbies/collections/talents?

Hmm, I openly appreciate music that is often labeled as “cheesy” and people always seem surprised by that. I’ve seen Celine Dion (sincerely) in concert and have the pictures of me sobbing to prove it. My biggest talent is probably my ability to quote any Christopher Guest mockumentary from beginning to end. As far as hobbies, I collect fountain pens and I wake up to watch Wimbledon live at 5am every summer. Actually, I’m really into all sports. I’m generally a relaxed person until a game is on. People don’t like watching with me because I’m a yeller. I completely transform.

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