For museum curator, the adventure began at Macomb
Unsure of a major, Megan Paquette Stepe wanted to “ease into the college experience.” After graduating from Mount Clemens High School, she began taking classes at Macomb in literature, ceramics, anthropology and art history, unaware she was preparing for a future career as a museum curator.
“I very much enjoyed my classes at Macomb and I met some great people,” says Stepe. “If I hadn’t moved out of state, I would probably still be in touch with some of them.”
Stepe moved to Florida shortly after graduating from Macomb with an Associate of General Studies Degree.
“I wanted a bit of an adventure after that and to be closer to the ocean,” says Stepe. “And I was still going back and forth between art history and archeology as a major.”
Ultimately, she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Art History and Anthropology from the University of Central Florida, which she followed up with a Master of Arts Degree in Art History, Theory and Criticism, from Florida State University. A mixed media and ceramic artist in her own right, she also continues to study painting conservation.
“It’s not only about fixing the damage done though the decades or centuries anymore,” explains Stepe, “sometimes its about undoing the fix so that more advanced stabilizing measures can be used.”
Stepe taught art history and oversaw the art gallery at Seminole State College for nearly seven years before accepting her current position as curator of South Florida State College’s Museum of Florida Art and Culture (MOFAC) in June.
“I oversee and take care of over 600 pieces of art and artifacts, which includes jewelry and objects from the Seminole Indians that lived on this swath of land,” offers Stepe. “This was the original Florida, when it was an island not a peninsula. There is just a wealth of history here.”
With her husband Kyle Stepe, a horticulturalist, and dog Larry and cats Paul and Clara still in Orlando, Stepe is living out of hotel in Sebring until the rest of the family can join her. Once they get their home, she will be reassembling her studio where she will resume her work in pottery and mixed media, including assembling aprons out of vintage fabric.
“Sewing is meditative,” she says, “and aprons are a lost art form. I would love to bring back the tradition of wearing them.”
Meanwhile, she is contemplating earning a Ph.D. and preparing to teach art history at the Florida college this fall, in addition to her curator duties at MOFAC.
“Taking those classes at Macomb was the beginning,” says Stepe. “I am so happy to be here.”