Sabra Gossett is the new registrar at the Berman Museum in Anniston. The community will get to meet her on Saturday from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. at the Berman Museum as part of the Museum Day event at the museum complex. Both the Berman and the Anniston Museum of Natural History will feature free admission and programming all day.
What is your educational background?
I got my associate’s and bachelor’s degrees in history from Troy University. I got my master’s degree from Southern University at New Orleans in museum studies. I am starting a program with the University of Victoria (British Columbia, Canada) for a professional specialization certificate in collections management. It is an online program; I am not commuting to Canada!
Where did you work prior to joining the Berman Museum?
I started out volunteering at the United States Enlisted Heritage Hall, a museum on the Gunter Annex to Maxwell Air Force Base. I was close with the curator there, and I kind of studied under him for a while. Later on, once I was in my museum studies program, I was an intern at the National World War II Museum. Then I worked for the local history museum, the Prattaugan.
How long have you been working at the Berman Museum?
I started within the last month. I have not been here long, but this already feels like home. This is going to be home for a while, and I am excited to see what it offers.
What does a museum registrar do?
That depends on the size of the museum. Here, the job of the registrar is anything to do with collections. I do everything from working with the artifacts themselves and assessing them when we receive new artifacts, to developing exhibits and figuring out how to set them up.
Take us through a regular day for you.
I clock in around 8 a.m. and come downstairs to collections. Right now, I am primarily working on the bronze exhibit; I have spent a lot of time drawing up diagrams of how we are going to exhibit it, writing bios on the artists and the art and writing panels for the main text of the exhibit.
What other projects are you working on?
We have Museum Day this Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., with special programming at both museums 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Both museums will have free admission. The 13th Annual Sudsfest is Sept. 23, 6:30-9:30 p.m. Sudsfest is the Berman Museum’s food- and beer-tasting fundraiser. We are also getting ready for the second annual Fall Fest, which we are working on with the Anniston Museum of Natural History. The Fall Fest will be on Oct. 14, 6-9 p.m. We are working on a “haunted history” program for the festival: a lantern-led walk through the museum in the dark, complete with ghost stories.
What are you looking forward to doing as registrar at the Berman Museum?
I would love to get everything in collections organized; that is one of my main projects. I am also looking forward to revamping some of the exhibits, because they have been the same for about 20 years.
Are there any new exhibits coming up?
Yes, in December, we will have a bronze exhibit. We have a schedule set up that, every six months, we will have a rotating exhibit here, as will the natural history museum.
What is your favorite exhibit in the Berman Museum?
I enjoy the WWI trench that we have upstairs; it has mannequins inside, and you can see how a trench would have been set up. To me, that is how you reach people. The world wars have always been something of interest to me.
Why are the world wars a favorite part of history?
My passion is European history, but to do European history in America, you have to focus more on America. I like studying Nazi Germany and the history of the Holocaust. I feel like those things need to be studied.
Faith Dorn is a freelance writer in Anniston. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.