Blog post by our Curator, Dr. Evelyn Montgomery.
Allow me to introduce a key member of the DHV curatorial department-Zelda, my Dodge Ram. Some people think that being a curator must be a glamorous job-and it probably is if you work for the Guggenheim, but I work in a historical village. Among my qualifications, I have a doctorate, shelves full of books, and a talent for public speaking, but more importantly, I have a miter saw, painting experience, a hammer, and Zelda.
Zelda had every reason to expect the easy life of an urban truck when sold to someone living a mile from downtown Dallas. She was soon disabused of that notion. DHV is Dallas’ only downtown working farm, and every farm needs a farm truck. Zelda has hauled hay and countless 50-pound bags of feed for assorted farm animals. She has pulled an animal trailer with a reluctant donkey making a guest appearance at Plano Heritage Farmstead, and hauled six protesting sheep. At that point she began to question the course of her career and considered getting her real estate license.
But then there is the carpentry work. Who else could fetch plywood and 2 by 4s? Landscape timbers and concrete blocks? Something always needs to be fixed around here. And we have gardens! Did you know you can buy quality garden soil by the half-ton, which a giant bull dozer will drop into your cowering truck? For trimming a tall branch, a ladder is insecure. I prefer to stand safely on the roof of Zelda’s cab, the branches falling on her hood while my feet leave permanent indentions in her metal.
Surely working with the artifacts makes up for all this other work? Why yes, there is nothing more exciting than carrying a new pump organ back to the village. Learned the hard way to tie it securely because if it slides sideways so does the truck. Zelda and I were guests at the Dallas Women’s Club when we brought a painting to display at a meeting. I got lunch, Zelda got to be valet parked next to a Lexus. Sometimes we come home with historical treasures, and how many pick-ups can say they preserve history for future generations?
All members of our curatorial department-me, Zelda, our Collections Manager Susan and Tom the Curatorial Cat-have multi-faceted jobs at a museum where a dozen different things are always going on. I have grown gray in the museum’s employ, and Zelda has grown dented. Susan and Tom still look good. All of us would rather work here than the finest fancy museum with complete maintenance and repair staffs. I love this place enough to hit it with a hammer when needed, and Zelda is ready to keep on trucking. Ram tough!
Note to Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, proud manufacturer of Zelda: we have sponsorship opportunities available. Call soon.