If you've had art treated at the Balboa Art Conservation Center you've probably met Emma Poggioli. As BACC's registrar and administrative assistant Poggioli is usually the first and last person our clients see.
Poggioli earned her graduate degree in public history at the University at Albany and a bachelor’s degree in history at the State University of New York at Oswego. Before she left for the west coast, she worked at the Albany County Hall of Records, the Safe Haven Museum, and the Storm King Art Center, all in New York. After landing in San Diego she worked as a visitor engagement associate at the San Diego History Center before joining the Balboa Art Conservation Center (BACC).
Here Emma shares her thoughts on what it’s like to work at BACC and be in a role that directly supports art conservation.
How did you end up working at an art conservation center?
I was working right below BACC at the San Diego History Center when a coworker told me about the open position. I always thought art conservation was a fascinating field and I love small organizations where you usually have a chance to play more than one role. I saw the email asking for an interview on the way to a camping trip. I made a special trip back to civilization and luckily found the lovely Pueblo City Barnes and Noble to do the interview from.
How would you summarize what a registrar and administrative assistant does at BACC?
My position mainly involves inventory tracking, finalizing reports from the conservators, and communications. Beyond those main focuses there is the typical admin work: purchasing, scheduling, office management. I help with logistics and paperwork, but I like paperwork.
What is the most challenging part of your job?
Helping people find us and deliveries. Our space was not built for receiving large crates and equipment. Trying to navigate first time clients and getting objects through our doors is a pretty regular struggle.
Another less daily challenge is trying to communicate to people that art conservation is a complex profession. When someone expects a quick answer or fix it can take time to find a balance. I can immediately pass them to the conservation pros though and let them get technical.
What is the most rewarding part of your job?
When people share pictures of their artwork back in its spot at home. It's like the cherry on top of the whole process. Someone leaves an artwork after a consultation hopeful and excited, seeing happiness expressed when they collect it is satisfying, but getting to see the restored piece as they do everyday is especially rewarding.
What do you wish more people knew about conservation work?
How important it is. Not just when there is damage but also the importance of helping to preserve art for the future. Even if you can't have something treated, it's worth hearing from professionals about the best step forward to protect it. Don't wait to at least get advice.