When she was 12 years old, Cynthia saw an advertisement in Interior Design magazine that read: “Who gets to decide what the Smithsonian keeps?” From then on, she knew she wanted to work in a museum.
She was born in High Point, North Carolina, 22 minutes earlier than her twin sister; but grew up in North Andover, Massachusetts. She came to Maine for the first time at one month old, and spent every summer at her family’s 1898 cottage on Wells Beach, at which her fondness for preserving the past melded with a deep appreciation for nature.
Walker first joined the Brick Store Museum as an undergraduate intern in 2006, and never really left, returning for a graduate fellowship in 2009. She was proud to find work as Exhibitions Curator from 2010 – 2011; Associate Director from 2012 – 2013; and finally Executive Director beginning in February 2014. Walker earned a B.S. in Public History and Middle Eastern Studies at Northeastern University; and earned an M.A. in History Museum Studies from the Cooperstown Graduate Program. Her Master’s thesis derived from her work on Museum founder Edith Barry’s collections.
In her role as Executive Director, Cynthia oversees the daily operations of the Museum, including fundraising; program planning and implementation; interfacing with the Board of Trustees, staff, supporters and visitors; developing new exhibitions; and creating meaningful partnerships with local organizations, people and businesses.
Cynthia currently lives in Kennebunk with her husband, David, and their dog, Murtaugh. Murtaugh is a frequent volunteer at the Museum and can often be spotted hunting for dog treats from visitors and volunteers.
[Cynthia has been told several times that she looks like Edith Barry. She agrees that it is a creepy coincidence.]
My Favorite Spot at the Museum:
I have to say it’s in the costume storage. Clothing is so personal, for many reasons. Plus, it’s so quiet and peaceful there, that you can almost hear the history seeping out of these items as if they are weaving stories through mid-air. That’s what I like to imagine, anyway. It’s the reason I wanted to work in a museum, and every time I walk in there, I’m reminded of how fortunate I am to work at the Museum, and how much we have to share with our community.
Why should everyone visit the Museum?
Everyone has their own reason for visiting, I think. But what I always consider is “what would it be like with NO museums?” A community without museums is one that is lacking a physical place of communal memory and inspiration. Without such a space, history, art and cultures would not only be hidden away in attics or landfills, but their inherent lessons would never be woven into the fabric of our communities and everyday lives. We wouldn’t know the answer to the universal questions of “Who are we?” and “Who do we want to be?” without the existence of museums.