Curator of Collections, Tampa Bay History Center
The Tampa Bay History Center brings 12,000 years of human achievement together under one roof. Along with artifacts like a centuries-old dugout canoe and a replica pirate ship, the collection includes hundreds of maps, some dating back 500 years or more, that show how the knowledge of Florida grew and changed from the age Spanish exploration to modern times. Malerie Dorman works behind the scenes managing the museum's map collection, housed in the Touchton Map Library -- the only cartographic institute in the Southeast. You can explore the map collection in digitized format online.
Where are you from? Cape Coral, Florida
Who’s your hero and why? Tony Stark, he turned his entire being upside down for the greater
What do you do for fun or hobby? I love to be out on the water here in Florida, especially
diving in the Keys.
Tell me about your job. The best way I have found to describe the job is “I take care of the
stuff”. I oversee the care of objects in our permanent collection as well as helping with exhibits.
What is it about history that inspired you to make a career of history? I had a wonderful American History teacher my junior year of High School who really made it fun and I credit him with igniting my passion for history. I originally was in school to teach and when I realized that wasn't for me I took a step back and said what else can I do that incorporates what I love about history? I thought a historical preservation specialty class sounded interesting and then managed to find my way to museums from there which has turned out to be the perfect career for what I love most about the subject.
What do you like about about your job? Everyday is different. We are always working with
new objects which keeps things interesting.
Are you as organized at home as you are at work – do you curate your linen closet or pantry as well? I think to be in the field of collections management you have to have at least a tiny bit of hoarder in you (lol!). I definitely always know where things are at home with my own systems but to an outsider it would probably be a case of "organized chaos". Some things you just do at work and they can't be part of your home life for various reasons.
How would your life be different without tourism? I think our important message about the
history of this area would be seen by a much smaller group of people without tourism. I enjoy
hearing reactions from out of town folks who had no idea of Tampa’s wonderful history.
What’s something people don’t know about your job? Just because something is old doesn’t
mean its something we are interested in adding to the collection. To make sure our objects are
relevant and useful for researchers we have a collections policy we follow. Things like
newspapers, large furniture, and out of state items simply don’t fall within our parameters but we
always try to point people to a more relevant place.
What do you say to people who think Florida has no history? Florida most certainly has history, you just need to have an open mind. I think people are simply familiar with the 13 original colonies and anything outside of that isn't on their radar. Florida has a wonderful rich history and I am proud to help expand that knowledge for our visitors.
What do you recommend your visitors do for fun when they come to Tampa Bay? Get out
to the larger Tampa Bay area, places a little further like Dinosaur World, Eureka Springs park
and the like that are outside of the downtown.