Sarah Spencer says “keeping all the balls in the air” is one of the challenges of her position as the Museum’s Group Sales Manager and Location and Production Coordinator. It’s easy to understand that some juggling talents are definitely part of Sarah’s workday.
1. How long have you been employed at Mystic Seaport?
In June it will be 20 years. I’ve worked in lots of different exhibits – and departments. I worked in most of the exhibits, including the Print Shop
, the Shipcarver’s Shop
and the Cooperage
; I was lead cooper for several years. I’ve done some roleplaying
, and I also spent a summer making oars in the Shipyard
and two years transcribing oral histories for Fred Calabretta in the Library. I’ve been in Marketing and Communications in different positions for about 10 years. For a Sociology major graduate of Trinity College in Hartford, I’ve had a fun and interesting work career – from New York City, to MIT in Boston to Mystic Seaport. I feel a fair amount of sadness when I think about my year in New York – I had been a front desk clerk at the hotel located between the Twin Towers.
Sarah Spencer in front of the Museum's Cooperage building
2. What’s the best part of your job?
SS: I really love the variety despite some of the challenges that may come with it. My daily planner entries are often crossed out because something else takes precedence. A new filmmaker may need escorting around the Museum or tour buses arrive un-scheduled, or one of our area hotels needs tickets.
3. What’s the most challenging aspect of your job?
SS: I think probably one of the hardest things is to let it go. With technology the way it is, one has to really school oneself to not constantly check the email, phone or voicemail in the evening or weekends. Mostly I don’t want anyone to be disappointed – from the visitor to my colleagues.
Working with filmmakers presents different challenges, but it can be a delight. The Museum has guidelines regarding when and where they may shoot. No part of the grounds is closed to visitors during filming, so we encourage filmmakers to work either before the Museum opens or after it closes. We also suggest the best time to film is between the months of November and March, when fewer visitors are on grounds. But it’s colder and doesn’t always provide the “look” that they’re seeking. So, there can be a bit of juggling.
4. What’s the funniest or most notable on-the-job experience you’ve had?
SS: Of late, my involvement with the Ric Burns’ film Into the Deep was a special experience in so many ways. I’m excited for its public debut. On the more humorous side, when I was a tour guide for Lantern Light Tours as we were leaving the Morgan after a scene below, one patron asked, “Is this ship real?” Maybe its authenticity was questioned because the interpreters were in character. It was sort of a strange question.
5. What’s your favorite thing to do outside of work?
SS: My husband and I love to travel. We also enjoy winemaking as a hobby. I also just finished the Memorial Day weekend “Angel Ride”, which was a 50-mile bike ride that benefited Paul Newman’s Hole in the Wall Gang Camp. I felt as if I needed someone to catch me once I arrived at the finish line — it was one long bike ride!
Sarah was interviewed by Volunteer Trudi Busey and photographed by Andy Price.