MSUToday
Published: Nov. 17, 2011

Staff profiles: Juan Alvarez

Contact(s): Meghan Spork University Relations Student Writer cell: (248) 250-3743 meghan.spork@ur.msu.edu

Juan Alvarez is the curator of exhibits at the Michigan State University Museum.

He has held the position since 1991, and is charged with coordinating all the exhibit programming at the museum.

But he doesn't do it all alone. Alvarez has a team of students who help him plan and design projects well in advance. Once the planning is done, they take down the current exhibit in the space, paint the gallery if needed and then build any additional walls or platforms that would be needed for the new exhibit. The next step is to bring the objects into the space, making adjustments as necessary. Finally, they put up labels, play with the lighting and open the exhibit.

"I try to get the students involved and give them real work experience," said Alvarez. "It's a skill they can take with them."
Alvarez believes it is beneficial for students to have a variety of experiences such as the planning aspect as well as physically putting up the exhibits.

Being in involved in a little bit of everything at the Museum is something Alvarez himself enjoys.

"That's part of what makes this job exciting," Alvarez said. "I get to work on new projects and do something different every day."

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Juan Alvarez, curator of exhibits at the Michigan State University Museum, talks about his everyday tasks and working with students.

Juan Alvarez, curator of exhibits at the Michigan State University Museum, talks about his everyday tasks and working with students.

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