CLAREMORE — The Claremore Museum of History made a little history of its own this week with the hiring of its first-ever museum curator, Andy Couch.
Couch assumed duties as museum curator on Monday, joining the Claremore Museum as an already rising star within the museum community.
“I got my B.A. in Art History from the University of Oklahoma in 2012, and I’m continuing my education, working towards my Masters in Museum Science & Management at the University of Tulsa, which I’ll be finishing up next year,” Couch said.
Originally from Enid, previous to being hired to be the curator of the Claremore Museum of History, Couch was employed by the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y.”
“While at the Baseball Hall of Fame, I was associate curator of traveling exhibitions — I managed the museum side of the Baseball Hall of Fame Tour,” he said. “That was a collaboration between the Baseball Hall of Fame, IMAX, and Major League Baseball.”
Himself a fan of baseball and a “huge Cardinals fan,” Couch said his time with the Baseball Hall of Fame allowed him the opportunity to come into contact with some unique memorabilia, while establishing his career as well.
“I got to take around Stan Musial’s final game cap, David Freese’s jersey from the 2011 World Series, not to mention Babe Ruth’s bat — a lot of amazing baseball memorabilia,” he said. “It was a great experience, but a costly one in that it cost Major League Baseball quite a bit to fund the tour. I worked with a lot of companies when I was a museum representative, so I would travel throughout 12 cities with 15 trucks — semis, and I was in charge of our 45 artifacts — some of the museum’s best.
“The tour ended in July, and I took three months severance package, during which time, I started traveling, looking for jobs,” he said, “and I learned of the curator position with the Claremore Museum of History, which turned out to be a great opportunity for me to both lead a museum and finish my degree — which I started working on while also being the program manager for Gilcrease on Wheels at Gilcrease Museum — at the same time.”
Couch’s first “official” day as museum curator was Monday, but the public will get the opportunity to meet with him this Saturday evening.
“I’m really excited to be here,” he said. “Claremore is a great community to begin with, and this museum in particular has an outstanding volunteer staff, just a tremendous group of very dedicated people who are committed to this museum.
“Before coming on board, I knew about Claremore — of course, Lynn Riggs, Patti Page, and Stuart Roosa — but since being hired (as curator), I’ve grown to appreciate Claremore and its rich history even more,” he said. “I know the museum has been, thus far, run only by volunteers and I’m the first time they’ve had someone on staff. I’m so impressed with the museum, all it has, and I’m looking forward to collaborating with the volunteers, the board, and the community to keep improving this already-great museum.
“More than anything, I want this (museum) to be a center for the community,” he said. “I want this to be a place that is more than just somewhere to visit. I want people to connect here, to participate and join in their excitement for Claremore’s history and its future.”
Couch will be available to meet with the public from 6-7:30
p.m. Saturday at an open house
at the Claremore Museum of History.