Interview with Alice Carver-Kubik

Alice Carver-Kubik

Alice is a Photographic Research Scientist at IPI. She is currently leading the Digital Image Correlation project, as well as continuing to make additions to Graphics Atlas.

Alice Carver-Kubik

Quick Overview:
I have been with IPI for three years and four months. Before coming to IPI, I worked at the George Eastman Museum in the conservation and object preparation departments. After graduate school I had an internship at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC where I had the wonderful opportunity of co-authoring the publication, In the Darkroom: An Illustrated Guide to Photographic Processes Before the Digital Age.

Where were you born?
Michigan City, Indiana

What was your professional training?
I have a bachelor’s degree in photography and art history and a master’s in photographic preservation and collections management.

What was your very first job?
I suppose my very first job was helping my parents renovate houses. We were paid ten cents an hour per year we were alive—I made $1.10 the summer I was 11 years old. My first “real” job was a bagger at a grocery store. My goal was to save enough money to go to Rome with my dad. Mission accomplished.

What would your dream job be?
I always wanted to work with collections in a museum. In middle school I had to take a “careers” class in which they gave us a list of possible career choices. Museum specialist was not on the list so I wrote “exotic dancer” in protest. The teacher called my mother, who thought it was very funny. I did eventually get to work in museums and I loved it. However, I think I have my dream job here at IPI. Although I’m not working directly with collections I have the opportunity to have a great impact on how others care for collections.

How did your partnership with IPI begin?
I came to IPI to continue work on Graphics Atlas, a web resource that presents a unique, object-based approach for the identification and characterization of prints and photographs. The institute received a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to create content for this amazing resource. I am extremely fortunate to have had the opportunity to work on this project. I’ve learned a lot and am excited to share this knowledge with others.

Why does the preservation of museum and library collections matter to you?
Museums, libraries, and archives are tasked with the challenge of collecting and preserving cultural heritage in perpetuity. These objects, whether written documents, art, or woven baskets, are the keys to remembering and understanding our collective histories and our shared humanity. Preservation of cultural heritage should matter to everyone.

What is your favorite work of art or your favorite artist?
This is like asking which is my favorite child. I have a particular affinity for photographs, but I love most art in general.

What other hobbies or significant interests do you have?
I enjoy cycling, a lot. I also volunteer with local arts organizations to organize art exhibitions.

What book or books would you like to have with you if you were marooned on a desert island?
I like reading novels. Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God is a favorite. I also love Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials series.

What is your most treasured possession?
My most treasured possessions are my collections of photographs, books, and music. Also, my bear, he’s very snuggly.

What is your greatest indulgence?

What is the most surprising thing to you about IPI?
For such a relatively small organization, it has had a huge impact on collections care worldwide. Amazing.