Women’s History Month Highlight: Lynda Palma
For Women’s History Month, the BYU MOA wanted to highlight the incredible women who work inside the museum. Let us introduce you to Lynda Palma, Museum Educator: Visitor and Volunteer Services.
- How long have you worked at the MOA?
I’ve worked with the collection for over a quarter of a century. While the building was still just a grand idea, I was accessioning our university’s artworks.
- What is your favorite part about your job?
Working with and mentoring BYU students is the most fulfilling aspect of my job. Sharing my love of art with our visitors ranks a close second.
- What has been your favorite exhibit at the MOA?
My greatest exhibition experience was probably working on Beauty and Belief: Crossing Bridges with the Art of Islamic Cultures. For me, the spiritual element significantly deepened its relevance and meaning.
- What’s one challenging aspect of your job?
The thing that’s the most challenging is also that which is most rewarding—always being required to learn something new. There is no such thing as a template in museum education, since each new show demands a different skill set and distinct educational strategies.
- What did you want to be when you grew up?
Sometimes dreams do come true, as I’m doing just what I hoped and prayed for.
- What types of cool opportunities has the MOA given you?
Certainly, I treasure the deep personal growth that has come over time. But the richest experiences have been while working with some of God’s finest children—colleagues who inspire me and help me reach my highest potential.
- Where is your favorite place you’ve traveled?
I’ve visited the Holy Land—twice—and I hope to return one day. It’s a place where world cultures meet (and sometimes collide), and the richness of its history vibrates in your very soul.
- What women do you most look up to/ are inspired by in your life?
Actually, I’m tremendously inspired by the young women students here at BYU. I didn’t join the Church until I was an adult, so I marvel at their highly developed emotional and spiritual maturity—something I didn’t cultivate until much later in my life.
- What’s a typical day like for you?
That must be a joke question—there is no such thing as “typical” in museum education! But I do have highly developed multi-tasking and on-the-fly abilities!
- How do you stay motivated?
I don’t really think in those terms. It doesn’t matter whether I’m especially motivated or not. There is a job to be done, and I would lack integrity if I did not tackle it with all of the care and enthusiasm I can muster.
- What are some of your hobbies?
Don’t laugh, but I have a serious passion for astrophysics. Somehow, studying the nature of the cosmos makes me feel a little closer to heaven.
- What advise would you give students?
I would admonish students to remain life-long learners—to never lose that hunger for the great wisdom that comes through study and application.
- If you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would you choose?
If you are what you eat, I’m a NUT. I don’t care what type of nut—Bazil, pine, pea, hazel, wal, chest—just as long as it ends with NUT.
- Who is your favorite artist/what is your favorite artwork?
When I went on semester abroad, I thought the pinnacle of my experience would be to visit the great museum collections of Europe. This might sound schmaltzy, but I came to realize that God’s art—the people made after His image and the land He fashioned for us—so far exceeded man’s art, that I’ve just never looked at the visual arts in quite the same way since. If you really tried to pin me down, however, I do love petroglyphs and pictographs. To me, they represent the perfect amalgamation of life and art.
- If you weren’t at your current job, what would you want to do?
I’m just where I want to be right now. But in 11 months, I look forward to spending more time with my ancestors (via research), and my grandchildren.