|Helen Dunbeck, director of administration at the MCA - associated with the museum since 1975.|
Listen to the 13 minute conversation.
I spoke with Helen Dunbeck at the MCA in August 2013. We talked about her history at the museum, which began in 1975 when she put her name on a waiting list to be a volunteer in the museum store.
Subsequently, Dunbeck volunteered as a docent, giving tours of exhibitons, and then she worked as temporary help in the business office. Transitioning to full-time, she then worked as an office assistant, then as the director of business services, at which point she got an masters degree in human resource management. While the museum was still on Ontario Street, Dunbeck became the director of administration, a position that she descirbes as encompassing operations, the physical plant, human resources, and some of the business service, but noting that business and finance affairs are handled separately.
At the right is a detail of Helen Dunbeck's wall in her MCA office. Along with a rendering of the museum's front and personal mementos, a relic from the old armory building's parking garage sits on her shelf.
As part of Helen Dunbeck's role of administrator, she dealt with issues surrounding the museum's transfer over to the Chicago Avenue Armory site, and also handled many of the logistics involved with installing the Art in the Armory: Occupied Territory exhibition at the Chicago Avenue Armory in 1992. In both scenarios, Dunbeck collaborated with city officials and military generals.
In our conversation, Dunbeck detailed some of the work involved in installing Michael Shaughnessy's Two Rings/Gathered Rising, which consisted of two doughnut-shaped rings that stood almost to the armory's gymnasium ceiling. The rings were contructed of wood and hay and Dunbeck needed to work with the Chicago Fire Department to get clearance and comply with fire code standards for its proper display.
Helen Dunbeck also initiated my quest to learn what happened to Goldberg, the taxidermied dog that stood in a box under the portrait of a general by the eastern entrance of the armory.