Areas of Expertise:
- New Museum Building - Exhibit Concept, Content and Design Process
- Interpretive Planning, Exhibit Development and Design, Project Management
- Visitor-Centered Informal Learning Environments, Visitor Experience, Visitor Services
- Anthropology and Textiles
- Ethnography and Art History
- Public Programs
- School Programs
Currently, Becky Menlove has the most enviable job...Overseeing activities of the Museum’s exhibits, school programs, public programs and visitor services. In short, Menlove handles all aspects of the visitor experience by managing the exhibit and public programs staff that works to offer unique experiences everyday for Museum visitors.
In her previous position as director of exhibits and public programs, Menlove oversaw the comprehensive process to conceptualize, develop, design and install all of the new exhibits for the 160,000 square-foot Natural History Museum of Utah, which opened in 2011. Menlove, who offered extensive exhibit development experience, worked with a team of local, regional and national experts for five years to develop ten permanent galleries that engage visitors in the natural history of Utah. The team included staff from the world-renowned firms of Ralph Appelbaum Associates, the exhibit designers and Ennead Architects (formerly Polshek Partnership), the building architects, both headquartered in New York City.
Menlove first joined the Museum staff as the anthropology textile lab supervisor from 1984 to 1992. She moved to Wyoming to complete her college education at the University of Wyoming, but continued to work in curatorial, exhibits and education positions at a variety of museums including the University of Wyoming Art Museum, Whitney Gallery of Western Art and the Plains Indian Museum. In 2000, she returned to the Natural History Museum of Utah as exhibit developer and now leads the department as associate director for visitor experience.
Menlove has a deep love and respect for natural history, collections objects, and Native American cultures and her passion for these areas translates in every project she handles. Over the past 14 years, she has developed over 20 award-winning temporary and permanent exhibits, several of which have gone on to travel to other museums around the country. She developed an official Cultural Olympiad exhibition at the Natural History Museum of Utah, which was featured during the 2002 Winter Games entitled, Utah's First Nations: Peoples of the Great Basin and Colorado Plateau. The Natural History Museum of Utah exhibits team developed and designed the exhibit, The Dark Zone: Discovering Utah's Caves, which was honored at the 2005 American Association of Museums conference with the Excellence in Exhibitions award. Wild Birds of the American Wetlands received the Copper Ingot from the local chapter of the American Institute of Graphic Artists and a Merit Award from the Society of Environmental Graphic Design.
Under Menlove’s direction, the Museum received the Excellence in Exhibitions Award from the American Alliance of Museums for special distinction-Alignment of Site and Mission. The Museum received multiple media technology awards including, the Gold Medal for the “Native Voices” film, the Silver Medal for the “Light Weeds” digital art installation in the new building and the Bronze Medal for the “Trailhead to Utah” mobile phone guide.
Over the years, she has collaborated with over 50 organizations and individuals in the exhibit design process, including the Science Center of Minnesota, Monterey Bay Aquarium, Timpanogos Cave National Monument, Utah's tribal leaders, Genetic Science Learning Center and several departments at the University of Utah, among many others. She is active in many professional organizations including the National Association of Museum Exhibitors (board member since 2012) and the Association of Science and Technology Centers.
Menlove especially enjoys being associated with the Natural History Museum of Utah and loves working with the enormous pool of talent across all departments. Her broad range of expertise contributes to bringing ideas to life in developing exhibits and she collaborates across departments with colleagues and other Museums around the Nation. Menlove constantly works to share Museum knowledge with other organizations and museums.
In her free time, Menlove enjoys writing, kayaking, snorkeling, cross-country skiing and travelling. She also enjoys being a host and likes to cook internationally inspired cuisine for large crowds.
Menlove received an M.A and a B.A. from the University of Wyoming, both in American Studies. She received academic honors as a member of both Phi Beta Kappa and Phi Kappa Phi Societies. She is a skilled weaver, served as a board member of the Navajo Santa charitable organization from 2002 to 2008 and currently serves on the board of directors for the Urban Indian Center, Salt Lake City.