Devin Geraci will be the first person to serve as associate director of operations at The University of New Mexico Art Museum (UNMAM) since 2013. She began her career at the UNMAM in 2018 and earned her master’s degree along the way.
As the new associate director of Operations, Geraci oversees the operations of the museum, including communications and marketing, facilities, finance, and human resources. She will continue working closely with UNMAM Director Arif Khan to provide leadership and direction in building the museum’s future.
“Devin Geraci’s long personal and professional history with the museum, and her impressive array of accomplishments, position her well as the museum continues its efforts to serve the University community,” Khan said. “Her dedication to supporting students and her vision for the future of the museum represents the operational and administrative leader we need in this transformational moment.”
Beginning her career at the museum as coordinator of Events & Visitor Services, Geraci most recently served as the manager of Communications & Audience Engagement. During this time, she has managed nearly 40 students through the UNMAM Museum Assistant Program while improving visitor experiences, coordinating events and programs, and leading the museum’s marketing initiatives. In the Fall of 2021, she redesigned the Museum Assistant Program to offer enriching employment opportunities to UNM students.
The Museum Assistant Program is how the UNM Art Museum engages student employees, Geraci explained.
“When I started at the museum as the coordinator of Events & Visitor Services, our museum assistants had very simple jobs. They staffed our front desk, greeted visitors, and monitored the galleries. Working so closely with those students, I realized that they were capable and interested in doing much more.”
Over the past few years, Geraci has been developing new roles to provide more hands-on skills and to integrate the students into the museum’s operations. Now, students work in communications, events, exhibition preparation, and social media.
“Our goal is to build out these roles until we have students working in all areas of the museum. Most of our student employees stay with the us until they graduate, so I am committed to providing experiences that will help them achieve their career goals after they leave UNM.”
To expand and improve the UNMAM visitor experience, Geraci adjusted the museum’s hours. Since Fall 2019, the museum stays open late Tuesdays through Saturdays for all shows in Popejoy Hall, which is located right next door.
“We saw an increase of 38 percent of total visitors in that first semester with these new hours. I also designed a visitor experience survey to gather feedback about what visitors liked or where we could improve. It’s important to me that the museum is welcoming to everyone, so I am grateful to have an excellent team, including our Visitor Services Associate Krista Gray and the museum assistants, who strive each day to support the vision of the museum.”
While working full time at the museum, Geraci pursued a Master of Arts in Museum Studies and a Master of Business Administration with a concentration in Organizational Behavior & Human Resource Management at UNM. Graduating in 2022 with distinction, her master’s thesis blended both areas of study in a field-wide survey to assess the workplace attitudes of museum professionals.
“I chose to pursue both the Museum Studies master’s program and Anderson’s MBA program because they were well-suited for working professionals with evening classes and online options, even before the pandemic,” Geraci said. “Pursuing both programs at the same time allowed me to connect the business skills that I learned in Anderson with the practices of museum operations that I gained through the Museum Studies program. I was able to balance school and full-time work because my colleagues at the museum were so supportive. That is one of the great things about working on a university campus, everyone values education, so it was an environment where I was really encouraged to pursue these programs.”
Geraci feels that the past year has built a lot of momentum at UNMAM.
“It feels like we’re really recovering from the pandemic, and everyone is energized about continuing our work,” she observed, adding that two new staff members were recently hired, Curator of Collections & Study Room Initiatives Angel Jiang and Coordinator of Student Engagement & Technology Joseph McKee. “So, we’re fully staffed for the first time since the pandemic. We’re also seeing a return to pre-pandemic visitation numbers, including a record number of visits to the Beaumont Newhall Study Room last spring. The museum has earned national recognition through grant awards from the Terra Foundation for American Art and the Frankenthaler Prints Initiative and by loaning artwork to notable institutions including the Museum of Modern Art, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and Denver Art Museum. I am really eager to support this momentum in my new role and see what our team can accomplish in the coming years!”
Geraci foresees an exhilarating fall semester at the UNMAM with three exhibitions showcasing works from the museum’s collection, including an updated version of Hindsight Insight, curated, and created by UNMAM Curators Mary Statzer and Angel Jiang in collaboration with other members of the UNM community.
“Joseph McKee, UNMAM coordinator of Student Engagement and Technology, is developing a busy events calendar and creating a plan to revive the museum’s student group. Past this upcoming semester, I am particularly excited that we’re developing plans to host the Association of Academic Museums & Galleries annual conference at UNM in the next few years. This is a terrific opportunity to learn with university museum professionals from across the nation while highlighting UNM’s museum community.”
Originally from Tallahassee, Florida, Geraci has been working in museums since graduating from Florida State University in 2016 with a Bachelor of Science in Anthropology. She has broad experience in administration, education, events and program planning, management, and marketing from a variety of museums including the Mary Brogan Museum of Art and Science, Museum of Florida History, and National Museum of Nuclear Science and History.