About the Author

My name is Nicholas.

Nicholas Merkelson

I like things.  Things of all types and shapes and colors and uses.  Things in great number as much as things of singularity and exception.  Things natural, like a tall waterfall, and unnatural, like a weeping statue.  Things that remind me of a person because they gave it to me; things that remind other people of me because I gave it to them.  Things valuable and things priceless, because there is definitely a difference.  Things I can hold in my hands, and things I can hold in my head.  Things are places, too, where I can visit, whether shaking a snowglobe, spinning a desk globe, or traveling the realest globe.

My parents always say they should be locked up for allowing a six-year-old to climb that ladder.

My parents think they should be locked up for allowing a six-year-old to climb that ladder.  Thanks, Mom and Dad.

When I was six-years-old I vacationed to see cave dwellings in New Mexico.  I was young, and I did not really know what old was.  I also grew up in a house with a roof and, needless to say, knew nothing of architecture.  Still, knowing kids like me used to live in those caves a very long time ago, climbed those ladders and had their own fathers and brothers waiting below them, was a history absolutely captivating to me.  I remember thinking, “Where do they live now?  Can I meet them?  Will they know I was here?”

Now an Emerging Museum Professional, I believe that young Nick’s riddling question is what motivates me as a collections manager, historical archivist, and cultural heritage specialist.

Of things and places, I seek to facilitate preservation using ethical and institutional standards of collections management and preventive conservation.  I catalog and inventory, I photograph and digitize, I handle and install.  Knowing and becoming familiar with mixed media has allowed me to work directly with incredible collections–historic, cultural, rare, high value, fragile, authentic–in countless museum, archives, and storage settings.  I’ve reconstructed Vodou altars, cataloged maritime art and artifacts, and transported Masterworks around a top auction house.  (Oh, I’ve also done some great archaeological fieldwork, excavating a 50,000-year-old Neanderthal child in Spain and 1.5 million year old Homo erectus footprints in Kenya.)  These hands-on experiences with objectively awesome things–some worth tens of millions, others an invaluable cultural  heritage, and still others illicit antiquities–are mere professional perks.