Hello, everyone!  Well, it’s probably about time that I get this post up so that #1 I can let everyone know where Colin has been and #2 I can introduce myself on here.  For those of you who follow this, you know that Colin was an absolutely amazing asset to the Hermitage for more than 5 years.  He accomplished incredible things for the museum, the collections, and community as an Asian art expert.  He was also quite the gifted and witty blogger.   But he is on to greater and greener pastures now…..quite literally.  In August of 2016, Colin went back to Scotland to pursue his PhD at the University of Edinburgh.  Don’t feel too badly for him– I have it on good authority that he is living THE life—travels to beautiful places, plenty of beer in hand to guide his studies, and many sweater vests.  We miss his humor, sarcasm, and infinite knowledge, but in all seriousness, we couldn’t be happier for him as he continues his research.

So who am I?

My name is Lindsay Neal.  Although I have worked at the Hermitage Museum since 2014, I have only been the Curator of Collections since 2016, when Colin departed.  I’m originally from the great Midwestern state of Ohio (Cincinnati, to be exact), moved to Charleston, SC for a brief time after graduate school, and landed in Norfolk, Virginia in 2013.   And now that things are slowing down a bit for the year (I’ll fill you in on all the exciting details in later posts), I thought it was perhaps time I introduce myself on this blog thing.

I will be honest: I spend very little time posting from personal social media accounts these days.  I am just not as savvy as my teen-aged MySpace self used to be (probably for the best).  And so it has been a slow process building up to a blog post.  But anyway, Colin’s advice to me before his departure: “Just don’t screw* it up (*edited for audience).”  No pressure, right?  So I have been trying to live by those words ever since.  They are literally printed on an 8 1/2″ x 11″ piece of paper and pinned to the wall above my desk as my daily reminder.   I have also been intimidated to follow in the blogging footsteps of both Colin and his incredibly inspiring predecessor, Lauren.  There is so much wit and intelligence between the two of them!  This blog has been pure gold thanks to their contributions over the years.  So rather than trying too hard to fill the void of these great people, here is my simple promise to you:   While I ultimately hope I can continue this blog in the spirit of what they started (and maybe even provide an ounce of their wit and wisdom?), I plan to just be me and hope this continues to be interesting to you.   If nothing else, I promise to post pretty pictures and give you a sense of the things I am working on.

I also have some fantastic people volunteering with me throughout the year, so I will have them take over the blog from time to time to share their perspective of the various happenings here.

So, let’s have a go of it, shall we?

DSC_0415Picture of the Herm looking particularly pretty.  Don’t you just want to jump into that festive tree?  Our Diver sure does!    

Yolimas wreath (1)Yolimas wreath 2

Shout out to the amazing Yolima Carr for creating the beautiful wreaths adorning the doors and windows around the museum this season.    

And on that note, happy holidays to everyone!