Eiteljorg Insider: Five Questions with Charles Hill, Manager of Guest Services

Eiteljorg Insider: Five Questions with Charles Hill, Manager of Guest Services

By: Sophia Holt-Wilson, Eiteljorg Marketing and Communications Intern

Charles Hill with friend and past Indian Market and Festival artist Veronica Benally

Charles Hill is the assistant manager of guest services at the Eiteljorg. He oversees the daily operation of the admissions desk, sells memberships and answers visitors’ questions about current and upcoming exhibits. Charles holds a master’s degree in art history from the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, and a BA in classics from Wabash College.

Here are five questions to help you get to know Charles:

1. What is your favorite piece in the museum?

I have several favorite pieces in the museum’s collection, but my favorite by far is Coyote Chant by Rick Bartow. I enjoy the piece not only for its suggestion that humans are not nearly so far removed from other animals as they might sometimes like to pretend, but I also appreciate Bartow’s blending of elements from my favorite cultural and artistic movements: Romanticism, Surrealism, and Expressionism. Additionally, I have always found trickster figures to be among the most compelling in stories from different periods and places in human history.

2. How have you spent your time during this period of social distancing? Do you have any new hobbies?

While I have spent the majority of my time at home working on cleaning up and standardizing entries in the museum’s collections database in my temporary role as a part of the collections team, I have also taken full advantage of the extra time I have in the week without my two-hour daily commute. In addition to taking more walks with the dogs on the farm and exploring the woods near our stream, I have spent my extra time running and committing to cooking more; I even made a pretty good chicken tikka masala from scratch recently!

3. If you could instantly learn any skill, what skill would you choose?

I’d love to have the skill to build a vehicle from the ground up, or to tear apart and rebuild a project vehicle. Having run the young person’s gauntlet of a litany of unreliable, if exciting, used vehicles, I’ve learned how to do a lot of tinkering myself over the past five or six years, but there’s always more to learn, and there are many things I’d still shy away from attempting myself.  

4. Are you reading any books right now?

I’ve got a few books on the go at the moment: Authority by Jeff VanderMeer, which is book two of his Southern Reach Trilogy, Stonehenge by Bernard Cornwell, one of my favorite historical fiction writers, and Age of Odin by James Lovegrove. The Southern Reach Trilogy is an excellent sci-fi thriller set in an alternate modern/near future setting, Stonehenge scratches my history/archaeology itch, and Age of Odin is a fun action-fantasy take on Norse mythology in the modern world.

5. What inspires you?

Music inspires me. It would be impossible to overstate the influence music has had on my interest in history and different cultures from around the world. Songs about events, myths, legends and stories throughout human history absolutely demand further reading and study in my mind, and compositions without lyrics have inspired me on many occasions to learn about traditional instruments and musical styles from all over the world. A song I’m particularly enamored with at the moment is Song of Women recorded by The Hu and featuring vocalist Lzzy Hale of Halestorm. Metal isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but I find the message of the song to be particularly poignant right now, as we approach Mother’s Day, and as the Eiteljorg is celebrating our Year of Honoring Women.