Day in the Life of Our Director

Introducing the Transformer Station

The days of David Franklin are diverse as he leads one of the nation’s leading art museums. They include a mix of administrative and creative tasks aimed at improving the museum’s collection, connecting to the public, and leading our staff. Here’s a look back at October 25, 2011, in David's own words.

7:45 AM – Drop off son at middle school.
8:00 AM – Gym
I try to get there almost every day before heading to the museum.

9:30 AM Meet with Jane Glaubinger, Curator of Prints
Jane and I reviewed a print for acquisition approval. This is a big part of my job. Usually, the chief curator has already vetted the works with the curator and these are quick meetings. She’s got a great eye. In the end, a lot of it is instinctive. You can know that an acquisition is great in five seconds. If it takes longer than that, it’s usually a bad sign.

9:45 AM Walk Through the Galleries
I try to walk through the galleries every day for at least a couple of minutes. On this particular morning, I walked through the antiquities section. I find this particular area of the collection very calming and inspiring.

10:00 AM Program Committee Meeting
This is a group I started involving a broad range of senior staff at the museum. When I joined the museum, I wanted to see more cross fertilization in how we plan and generate ideas. We meet to talk about what we’re all doing and see where things connect. At this meeting, we discussed the museum’s Summer Solstice Party. We talked about how we can make it even better the next time.

The group is really a think tank. We are a creative institution. What I love is that everyone has their own expertise and passions. The institution is only going to be great if we all work together. I think it’s really exciting to learn from other people and I think the public will respond to that. For this one, I took my tie off. Small agenda, lots of brainstorming.

12:00 PM University Circle Incorporated Executive Committee Meeting

Arriving at Parade the Circle 2011

I sit on the board for UCI and this meeting involves all the executives from neighboring institutions in University Circle. We spend a lot of time talking about real estate and urban planning issues. They usually have a lengthy, formal agenda and where I get my lunch. For this one, the tie was back on.

2:30 PM Conference call with media consulting firm in New York

Periodically, we visit New York City to get the attention of the journalists there. This conference call was to prepare me for tomorrow’s trip there. We’re trying to be very aggressive in promoting the museum and I’m developing personal contacts in the media.

3:00 PM Meeting with Education Department

These are the type of internal meetings I really enjoy. They offer the opportunity to meet with museum staff and hear what is on their minds. They are important meetings that I have with each department on an annual basis. It allows me to hear comments back about things I can improve. I wish I could do it more often. These meetings allow me to re-emphasize my vision and make sure we’re all connected. My vision is a combination of all of our visions. It helps make sure there is no mystification about what the director wants to do. That’s my job to be the pivot for everybody. For this one, my tie was on.

Talking to Education Department staff

4:00 PM Meeting with Design Director

We meet twice a month. This is a quick, rapid-fire meeting. We dealt with 20 issues in 20 minutes.We talked a lot about the Transfomer Station on the West Side. For this one, my tie was off.

5:30 PM Meeting with Museum Associates

Museum associates are diplomats or ambassadors for the museum in the community. They get afterhours access and behind-the-scenes information. We host mini lectures for them on different aspects of the museum. Sort of an intensive course on the museum They meet with me, curators and other staff members based on the subject we are studying at the time. On this particular session, we talked about acquisitions and research. We had dinner at 6 together and we were still working after 9pm. For this one, the tie was back on.

-- Kesha Williams


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