Interview with Angie Armstrong

You may have noticed a lovely, patient, new voice on the line if you have called IPI for technical support. Meet the woman behind the voice – and the tech support e-mails you receive when you write to Angie is a woman of many interests and many talents and a great addition to the IPI team. She has been at IPI since August of 2011. Prior to working at IPI, Angie held a number of technical support positions in a variety of industries; construction, energy supply, public broadcasting, and Computer Training. She has also been a Cashier, a Trainer, an Administrative Assistant, and a Soundboard Operator and voice talent.

Angie ArmstrongName:
Angie Armstrong

Where were you born?
Buffalo, NY

What was your professional training?
Ultimately, life has been my trainer...but I also attended Rochester Institute of Technology, and received a number of Technical Certifications during my years in Tech Support.

What was your very first job?
Many moons ago I was a cashier at Wegmans Food Market, when it was the only Wegmans in Buffalo. It was kind of a big thing.  [Note: Wegmans is a highly acclaimed supermarket chain headquartered near Rochester, NY.]

What would your dream job be?
I would love to be a photographer, specializing in in-flight military aircraft. Or, if that doesn’t pan out, I would spend my life traveling the world as a professional Roller Coaster Critic.

How did your partnership with IPI begin?
Somewhat on a whim, actually.  I was unemployed, and had dedicated myself to the job hunt like it was a career.  I didn’t respond to the ad and apply until my 3rd pass through the job offerings—and even then, since I was applying to the Rochester Institute of Technology, I didn’t put much faith in a call for an interview.  I was shocked when I got the call to come in and even more surprised when I got the call back the next day. Now they’re stuck with me!

Why does the preservation of museum and library collections matter to you?
One of my most enjoyable and time-consuming hobbies is actually historical recreation. I am involved in a group called the Society for Creative Anachronism, which in a nutshell is like a combination of historical research and playing dress-up.  I wasn’t big on history and research in school but because of the SCA and researching 16th Century Italian jewelry, or clothing, or arms and armor, or illuminated manuscripts, etc., I very much came to appreciate and enjoy historical research. The more I learned about IPI’s Mission, the more I grew to appreciate it. The resources that are available to me so that I can play my Medieval or Renaissance games are available through the efforts of preservation staff, curators, etc.

What is your favorite work of art or your favorite artist?
My favorite portrait artist by far is Titian (Tiziano Vecellio). I used many of his portraits as inspiration for gowns that I constructed for the SCA. My favorite miniaturist is Florentine painter Attavante degli Attavanti. He did some beautiful works for his Patron, King Matthias Corvinus of Hungary that I use as inspiration for my illuminated manuscripts.

What other hobbies or significant interests do you have?
The most time-consuming activity for me right now is being a referee for Women’s Flat Track Roller Derby. I’ve been a referee since February 2011, and absolutely love it. I also enjoy choral singing, traveling, photography (nature, architecture), and movies...I am a cinema junky.

What book (or books) would you take with you to a desert island?
Anne Bishop’s “Dark Jewels Trilogy,” Mary Stewart’s “The Crystal Cave,” Harper Lee’s “To Kill A Mockingbird,” and perhaps David Eddings’ “The Belgariad.”

What is your most treasured possession?
That’s a tie between my car and my laptop...because both represent freedom, empowerment, and connection to the world around me.

What is your greatest indulgence?
Food. I was going to try and pick a particular food, but that’s impossible. I love FOOD. I love preparing good food, I love eating good food. Food is good for the soul, lifts your spirit, heals all wounds, breaks the ice, and provides a moment of peace.

What was the most surprising thing to you about IPI?
What surprised me most about IPI is just how diverse the staff is, for being such a small one...culturally, ethnically, and socially. And yet, with all of this diversity, it all just ‘works’ without as much of the drama as one might expect.