HART Welcomes Shelby Merritt as Assistant Visual Resources Curator

shelbymerrittNot everyone realizes this, but Florida is as much rural cattle pastures and dusty orange groves as it is sunny beaches and crowded theme parks. Coming from a proud working-class family of “true Floridians” (not transplants), my artistic tendencies and academic aspirations were initially met with puzzlement. It has taken the course of a bachelor’s degree in Art History, a master’s degree in Library Science, and several museum internships, but I think my family have finally come to appreciate my commitment to the arts. Or at least they’re resigned to it.

As I was deciding what course I wanted my career to take, I often imagined myself locked away in a quiet back room in a museum, surrounded by art. I still love doing that kind of work, but it was during a library assistantship through my graduate program at UNC-Chapel Hill that I finally discovered a previously unknown people skill: collaborating with students and faculty. Whether it was tracking down an obscure bit of information, or discovering a new and dynamic way of presenting a project, I relished helping patrons accomplish their scholarly goals. I am excited to work here with faculty doing research on topics that I’m passionate about and to encourage students to better incorporate visual resources into every aspect of their lives.

I love a vibrant Southern town and I have been fortunate to live in several across the Southeast. Nashville’s laid-back, yet metropolitan vibe already feels like home. I’m looking forward to exploring hiking trails with my black lab mix, Elliott, and taking a grand tour of the finest breweries and coffee shops Nashville has to offer. Insider tips welcome.—Shelby Merritt

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