Note: This is one in a series of spotlights on MOI staff members who have been named a “Keefer Fellow,” a monthly program aimed at recognizing staffers for their contributions to the museum and the community. This month, one of our newest employees, our Public Outreach Educator.
Q: Explain what you do at the museum in 20 words or less.
Ty: I engage with museum guests in the exhibit spaces, answering questions and showing cool artifacts!
Q: What’s a museum-related accomplishment that you’re particularly proud of?
Ty: One Friday during our Body Worlds: Animal Inside Out exhibit, I had one of my cart lessons out on the floor. A mother and her young daughter (4 or 5 years old) came up and interacted with my cart. We talked about bones and animal skulls and what kinds of animals we have in Idaho. Afterwards, the mom asked when I’ll have my cart out again because her other daughter, who was in school at the moment, would love to see the cart. I told her I will have my cart out again tomorrow. Sure enough, the next day, the mom comes up with both of her daughters. She came back to the museum the next day specifically to see my cart! The mom and the two daughters are regular attendees of Discovery Day and Meet a Scientist. Now, whenever she sees me, she asks about future cart lessons and the daughters always say hi to me!
Q: What do you do for fun?
Ty: I like to garden and go on hikes with my dogs! When I have down time, I will do crafts of all kinds, draw, make taxidermy, or articulate animal skeletons!
Q: What would you do for a career if you weren’t doing this (and if money were no object)?
Ty: Honestly, I would still be doing something along these lines. I love my job and can’t see myself doing anything else. If money were truly no object, I’d like to be the babysitter of the “Magic Treehouse” kids.
Q: What’s the weirdest / most interesting past job you’ve had?
Ty: The job that gets the biggest reaction is definitely the taxidermy job I had for 3 years. It was an incredible job and I learned the ins and outs of the industry. The best part of that job was getting to be up close with all kinds of animals and learning their anatomy.
Q: Name a setback in your life that has ended up being a good thing.
Ty: My husband and I have moved quite a few times in our marriage. Each time we moved was hard on me mentally. I didn’t like having to job hunt every time or leave friends behind or give away things to make the move easier. With each move, though, it became easier to see my priorities and the things I truly valued and I’ve gained many good friends that we can visit any time we go back to those areas!
Q: What’s something – large or small, useful or not – that you’re really good at?
Ty: I am – apparently – really good at walking quietly. I keep accidentally sneaking up on people!
Q: What were you like in high school?
Ty: I was the “wolf girl” in our goth friend group (yikes). We were all obsessed with anime and wolves. We all wore black and had fishnet shirts and gloves, and we ate our lunches in the library. My high school best friend is still my best friend today and we look back at photos of those days and just laugh and laugh and laugh.
Q: What’s your favorite book, movie, and TV show?
Ty: I have many favorite books in different genres. My top three are the entirety of the Harry Potter series, Circe by Madeleine Miller, and American Serengeti: The Last Big Animals of the Great Plains by Dan Flores. My favorite movie will always be the animated Balto, but lately I’ve been seeking out suspenseful and scary movies. I like way too many shows, but if I get the chance to watch reruns of “Xena: Warrior Princess” or my favorite sitcoms like “The Golden Girls,” “The Nanny,” or “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” I will take it.
Q: Tell us something about you that might surprise us.
Ty: I am a very chatty, friendly person, but I’m a big homebody. I value my alone time and will take any opportunity I can to just be at home with my dogs and my husband.