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Friday, June 25, 2010

Rocky Korr Retiring After 40 Years at the Smithsonian Institution

Rocky Korr A beloved staff member of the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery is retiring July 2nd, 2010. Rock Korr has spent over 40 years at the Smithsonian Institution as an Art Handler for the galleries. With Rocky leaving, the Archives wanted to capture the pearls of wisdom he has acquired over the years; not just about the Institution, but about life. With unanimous enthusiasm across the museum and major support and instruction from Smithsonian Institution Archives History Division, I set out to create an Oral History program for the Freer+Sackler Archives. I interviewed natural born story teller: Rocky Korr on June 16th, 2010. To the right is a picture of Rocky Korr with his favorite Sackler object: the Jade Bear.

For the interview Rocky and I covered his background, work details, and memories. During a session discussing the opportunities and experiences staff members have working at the Smithsonian, Rocky bestowed upon me a beautiful metaphor that explains how we should always take advantage of the opportunities afforded to us, both at the Smithsonian and in life. Below is a 30 second audio snipet of one of my favorite quotes from the session, along with a transcription.

"...if you're sensible and if you are curious, then
you have to take advantage of situations here. And as I say that time when the Yemen dance troupe was here, and that guy said "get in there and dance with them," and I had about 3 seconds to say "what in heaven's name is he talking about?" and then I jumped in and danced. And it was as simple as that. And if people hesitate in life and in around here, they will miss what is presented to them to do.

I encourage you all to take a page out of Rocky's book, and get in there and dance! Rocky Korr there will never be another like you, and you will be missed.

Rachael Cristine Woody
Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives

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