When Jamie Simmons graduated from Ouachita Baptist University, she was looking for a career in history research. Little did she know her destiny would lie so close to home.
"Once I decided history was my field, I got very lucky to find a job right out of college where I wanted to work," Jamie said. She started out at Texarkana Museum 0f Regional History in 1990 as an intern.
"Katie Caver was the director of the Museum then and she was a great mentor," she said. "Since the founding of it in 1971, she worked to build it up."
That internship turned into the curator position. She trained in every aspect of museum work before taking on the role.
"What a curator does is tell a story, and to do that you collect items and images that tell the story most effectively. You have to sift through it all," she said. "When you curate a house, you have to set the house up to tell the family story."
Jamie said that you must know your subjects well, because the public regards the curator as the expert.
"It's a much heavier responsibility than I anticipated," she said. "It's important to have the facts right, because people believe everything you say. There is a level of trust the public places on you."
Jamie trains all volunteer tour guides to respect that trust and know the facts.
"History has its ups and downs," she said. "History was made by humans, and humans are fallible. I'm not a fan of presenting historical figures as saints. You can't disconnect the human element."
Along with curating, preservation of the properties and their items are of utmost importance. When she isn't busy hosting a program or giving tours, Jamie's time is filled with research and archiving local happenings that will become future history. Jamie cites Caver's project of recording interviews with older residents about what they remember about growing up in the area.