Katie Ziglar took over as director of the museum after 13 years as Director of External Affairs at the Freer|Sackler Galleries, Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. Now with over three months on the job, Ziglar said the transition has gone well.
“I inherited a very motivated and a good staff at the Ackland,” she said. “They are very dedicated to the museum and know their jobs and perform them very well. I’ve also spent time getting to know people all around the University, trying to learn about the University from their perspective and how it affects the Ackland.”
Ziglar said one of her goals for the Ackland is to increase its interaction with the UNC community. She said before she arrived, the museum would see, on average, 10,000 students a year who came with their class.
Torin Edwards, a first-year media and journalism major, said trips to the Ackland helped him gain a better understanding for his class.
“I went to Ackland to see the Burk Uzzle exhibit with my photography class,” he said. “I went in having gone to countless museums on school field trips, but this was different. I think this was the first time that I actually understood how a picture could be worth a thousand words.”
Ziglar said education is something the Ackland specializes in and it is something their staff is very good at.
“We are reaching out to the different professors and encouraging them to try this,” she said. “We are actually tracking, so far this year, ahead of our average statistics.”
Ziglar said she wants the museum to attract students for more than just educational opportunities. One way in which this is being accomplished is the ART& — An Experiment in Art and Community program.
“ART& is this converted gallery space where individuals or groups can gather to drink coffee, hang out or do homework,” Ziglar said.
“From 10 to 2 there is free coffee but people can bring their own whenever. The space itself is adjacent to the Extended Remix gallery so the hope is people using the Art& space will go through that door and visit the exhibition and maybe go deeper into the museum.”
Ziglar said the ART& space has been heavily used, attracting students like first-year chemistry major Alton Gayton.
“It’s a nice place to study. I’ve only been once because the museum is a bit out of my way but the idea’s pretty cool,” Gayton said. “I don’t drink coffee but I’m sure offering it for free attracts a lot of people.”