BMA’s newest staff addition is Emily Hylton, who joins our Education Department as the manager of docent and teacher programs. Coming to the Museum from The Bechtler Museum of Modern Art in Charlotte, North Carolina, Emily looks forward to engaging with the community, building relationships, and enjoying all that Birmingham has to offer. She brings fresh ideas and perspectives to the Museum, and we are excited to have her on the team!
Birmingham Museum of Art: How have art and museums impacted your life?
Emily Hylton: For me, art and the museum are explicitly connected. From a young age, I was not consciously drawn to art, but rather subconsciously drawn to it through spending time in museums. My love for art museums quickly grew when I realized the ability of art to teach a person about all aspects of life and the ability of a museum to connect a person to the greater cultural community. I discovered that no matter where I was in the world, I was becoming a part of something bigger than myself. These realizations and all of my museum experiences led me to get a degree in art history and education from Sewanee: The University of the South.
BMA: What encouraged you to join the BMA staff?
EH: I was excited about the idea of moving to the city of Birmingham because of its positive energy and recent growth, and this seemed like a wonderful opportunity to experience a new city that has a lot to offer. I was drawn to the BMA because of the Museum’s accessibility- through free admission, programming and tours the Museum is available for all to enjoy, and in turn can serve the community on a broader scale. I am so excited to be apart of this effort!
BMA: How has your past experience prepared you for your new role at the BMA?
EH: I spent the last four years working in museum education, including both school programing and community outreach. My main focus has always been on relationship building and engaging with the community and I look forward to continuing that work here in Birmingham through the BMA.
BMA: What aspects of this position are you excited about the most?
EH: I am most excited to begin connecting with students across the city and, whether its through a Museum tour, a BMA Culture Case, or an in-school art program, bridging the Museum and the classroom. Through those connections, my hope is to spark student interest in art, museums, and learning.
BMA: What new ideas or changes are you planning to implement at the BMA?
EH: I am currently working to reinvigorate the BMA’s in-school programs. With the increasing number of schools lacking art instruction, I hope to provide it where it is needed. Through this program, the BMA will work with teachers to bring art-making classes to schools and students that otherwise would not have access. I am excited to jump right into this work and begin partnering with schools in the Greater Birmingham area.
BMA: What is your favorite part of working with students and volunteers?
EH: My personal mission is to create a spirit of welcome in the Museum that will encourage students to experience something new, whether that is visiting a museum for the first time, looking at works of art they have never seen, or creating art in the studio. If a student leaves the Museum with sense of joy, new knowledge, and wanting to return, the BMA has done its job well.