Molly Noah’s conversation with Jason B Jones, the Director of the Western Museum Association, living in Tulsa, OK.
Happy Fall readers!
We are excited to welcome Jason Jones for our first interview of the fall! Jones is the Director of the Western Museum Association and based here in Tulsa. We asked Jones about his goals for the WMA and his favorite Tulsa hotspots!
Was getting your master’s degree a game changer, why?
Absolutely. Graduate school gave me a historical museological background, as well as knowledge of contemporary best practices. Additionally, and arguably more important for getting hired in the museum field, I got experience and connections through a variety of internships. The education gained in the classroom, combined with knowledge gained through internships, made graduate school a critical step for my career.
You have a B.A.F.A. in the History of Photography, how does your content background shape your vision as an administrator?
In addition the B.A.F.A. in the History of Photography, I was in the art shipping business for 10 years. The combination of the two experiences keeps the importance of the object in the forefront of my vision of the museum field. Connecting visitors with primary sources – whether that be artwork, documents, historic sites, etc. – and encouraging them to expand their knowledge is at the heart of museum work.
What are some of your goals for the Western Museum Association in the next few years?
While collaboration has been an important part of WMA’s DNA for years, we have recently formalized it into our new mission statement: Transforming the museum world through collaboration. As such, partnerships are central to our work going forward. This year, we partnered with the Museum Association of Arizona for the Annual Meeting. And in 2017, we are partnering with the Alberta Museums Association to take the Annual Meeting to Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. I am stoked about these opportunities to work with these outstanding organizations, and am actively planning more collaborations for the future.
Many times museum professionals head for one of the coasts, what do you think is unique about the midwest?
The coasts, no doubt, have a magnetism to them. I lived up and down the West Coast for 13 years, and find it to be a wonderful place. However, I’m happy to be back to the interior of the country, where the people are warm and friendly, and the potential for creative growth, especially here in Tulsa, is huge. With downtown booming, new leadership in area museums, and the Vision vote that passed earlier this year, Tulsa is primed to explode creatively, and I happy to be here for it – and help where I can. It’s like that in many midwest cities right now, and that can be harder to find (and even harder to get involved in) on one of the coasts.
Favorite Tulsa Hotspot?
Tallgrass in Blue Dome is a favorite spot, as is Roosevelt’s on Cherry Street and Cellar Dweller.
Be sure to check out the Western Museum Association’s Website for more information and resources!