My museum work career began as an undergraduate at the University of Florida’s Florida Museum of Natural History, where I volunteered on archaeology research projects and studied parts of the museum’s ethnographic collections. As a first-year graduate student at Indiana University, I worked at the Mathers Museum of World Cultures doing cataloging and collections research, focusing on the museum’s Native American collections. I completed a student exhibition presenting the museum’s fine Florida Seminole collections and did work with its Plains collections as part of a project directed by Raymond J. DeMallie. Upon moving to Oklahoma in 1995, I began work at the Gilcrease Museum in Tulsa, where I collaborated closely with the museum’s then-senior curator Daniel C. Swan. I filled a number of roles at Gilcrease, ultimately working as Curator of Anthropology. In 2000 I moved to the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History (SNOMNH), where I became the museum’s first Curator of Ethnology. While at Gilcrease, I taught museum and material culture studies in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Tulsa. At SNOMNH, my appointment was a joint one split between the museum and the University of Oklahoma’s Department of Anthropology. In that capacity, I also taught museum and material culture studies courses. Returning to Indiana University in 2004, I have continued teaching in these fields and collaborating with several museums on exhibitions, research and outreach programs. Many of the students with whom I work have strong museum interests and are pursuing their own exhibition and research projects in preparation for museum careers.
In 2012 I was named Faculty Curator of American Ethnology at the Mathers Museum of World Cultures, but soon afterwards I was given the unique opportunity to serve as the museum’s Director. As the museum began its 50th anniversary year, I was named its third Director.