Women’s History Month Highlight: Suzanne Barney

 In MOA Features

For Women’s History Month, the BYU MOA wanted to highlight the incredible women who work inside the museum. Let us introduce you to Suzanne Barney, MOA Facilities Custodial Supervisor.


  1. How long have you worked at the MOA?

23 years

  1. What is your favorite part about your job?

Working with students / working around art (that’s two but they’re integrated here)

  1. What has been your favorite exhibit at the MOA?

So many to choose from…Carl Bloch, our SLC 2002 Olympics Smithsonian Show, Tiffany…are the top three that come to mind.

  1. What’s one challenging aspect of your job?

Coming to work on Fridays—I’m ready for the weekend by Friday

  1. What did you want to be when you grew up?

Astronaut, Indiana Jones, Vesper Holly, an artist or writer, a gardener living in Rivendell  (I had a vivid imagination)

  1. What types of cool opportunities has the MOA given you?

Working with passionate creative people, seeing how our exhibits evolve, seeing patrons come to the MOA, their reactions, working with students who end up loving the MOA—not just having ‘a college job’.

  1. Where is your favorite place you’ve traveled?

Southern Utah—I love the rock formations, the expansiveness, the color contrasts and especially the night sky.

  1. What women do you most look up to/ are inspired by in your life?

Pioneer Women: from those who trekked west to today’s women who move into the unknown/changing their circumstances—these women move forward with faith/hope for a better life for themselves and their families, to reach their dreams.   I’m in awe of their tenacious spirit.

  1. What’s a typical day like for you?

Work starts at 5:45am.  A phone call, or email, might alter if we start a project today or tomorrow.  My routine is cleaning the Museum of Art.  If there’s an event the night before or an event that’s taking place that day, then that changes the routine for an hour or so; we just make sure we get everything else taken care of.

  1. How do you stay motivated?

My motivation is based on two things:  the Academic Calendar–  holidays, reading days, finals, semesters, terms, graduations, BYU Women’s Conference and Education Week; the Museum Calendar of exhibit openings/closings, events and such.   These markers make my job fun.  I usually hire a new crew of students four times a year so I’m always teaching and improving my teaching methods, finding ways to make work interesting and fun.

I have a specific Monday motivation:  seeing how everyone’s weekend was and what’s ahead for the coming week

  1. What are some of your hobbies?

Reading, enjoying the outdoors.

  1. What advise would you give students?

We create our own happiness in whatever we do and how creatively we approach it.

  1. If you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would you choose?

Pizza.  Almost everything can top a pizza.  We also have chocolate chip cookie pizzas too.

  1. Who is your favorite artist/what is your favorite artwork?


Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema’s Spring  I saw this at the Getty, many years ago, and it made an impression on me.

  1. If you weren’t at your current job, what would you want to do?

I would wander.  JRR Tolkien says it best, ‘not all those who wander are lost’

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