Rob Kempton, ‘12, is a former UMBC English student who earned his Master’s Degree in Museum Studies from Johns Hopkins University. Kempton is currently a member of the Baltimore Museum of Art’s security team. Read about his journey below:
I graduated from UMBC in 2012. A decade later, I look back fondly on my poetry courses with Tony McGurrin, Dr. Pekarske, and Michael Fallon, all of which shaped me into the poet I am today. I loved this English program, as it relied upon deep critical thinking, analysis, and explicating each text. I would be remiss to leave out Dr. Fernandez, Dr. McKinley, and Dr. Falco who offered invaluable constructive feedback that later impacted my graduate work. In 2020, I earned my master’s degree in Museum Studies from Johns Hopkins University.
I joined the Baltimore Museum of Art’s security team in 2016 after receiving a phone call to come in to interview. At the BMA, I have worn many hats from Temporary Sculpture Garden Technician to Registrar intern. I have washed and waxed the Museum’s bronze sculptures and helped de-install two exhibits. Throughout my years in security at the Museum, I have dedicated hours upon hours training my eye through close looking.
These experiences have culminated in an opportunity to co-curate the BMA’s recent exhibition Guarding the Art for which I wrote label copy, helped determine its graphic identity, and edited exhibition catalogue texts. Press coverage for this show was unprecedented. I was featured and interviewed by The New York Times and the BBC among others to speak on Guarding the Art. This groundbreaking and unique exhibition co-curated by seventeen BMA security officers privileges and de-privileges as it grants agency and authorship to people usually devoid of that power. The exhibition is currently on view and ends July 10th.
This spotlight was originally published on April 13, 2022.