A Chance to Enhance Video Work at Berkshire Museum

Alliey Pevay '16 with NASA Astronaut Cady Coleman.Alliey Pevay '16 with Catherine Grace "Cady" Coleman, retired NASA astronaut, during the Berkshire Museum's Cady Coleman Day in 2018.

Growing up in North Adams, Alliey Pevay ’16 had plenty of opportunities to visit the Berkshire Museum in Pittsfield. She has fond memories of visiting the museum’s aquarium as well as a mock archaeological dig site—“that was my jam,” she said.

Now, as a professional arts manager, Pevay is guest services associate and associate digital content editor at the museum, enhancing visitors’ experiences and producing educational and promotional content. 

After earning her arts management degree from MCLA, Pevay heard about an opening at the museum from Kristina Alexander ’16, who at the time was assistant guest services manager. She jumped at the opportunity, and worked in various capacities in guest services, from front desk to shift leader, until March, when the COVID-19 pandemic forced the museum to think creatively about how it could share its collection and educational resources with the Berkshire community and with the world.

As a student at MCLA, Pevay had interned with Mass EDMC, marketing electronic dance music events around New England, and had nurtured a long-term interest in video (“I was that kid who wanted to be on YouTube before it blew up,” she said).

Suddenly, an opportunity presented itself—Pevay’s skills with video and promotion could help the museum reach its audiences. Craig Langlois, the museum’s chief experience officer, had already established video programming; the pandemic, and the need to keep younger audiences engaged and occupied from home, made expanding that programming crucial.

Liz Anglin, the museum’s early education specialist, had already been filming short videos aimed at the museum’s younger audience, and Pevay, who had purchased a copy of Final Cut Pro for herself for Christmas, stepped in to help edit, fact-check, and keep the video content on-brand. She was somewhat familiar with the software, but gave herself a few days of intensive practice to get ready to meet this challenge.

“As a nod to one of my favorite and most used phrases from professor Diane Scott, my most used tools from my MCLA tool box are collaboration and creative problem-solving, which I’m sharpening daily within both of these roles,” Pevay said. “A skill our generation is fortunate to possess, having grown up with the rapid advancement of technology, is the ability to embrace new software and quickly adapt new processes utilizing it. Being able to add that adaptability to my toolbox in a work setting has felt like a natural shift with the current need for a pivot in how to continue making our collection and the arts accessible to our community.” 

Now, Pevay has produced many Digital Discovery videos on topics from insects to meteors to Wally, the museum’s well-known stegosaurus mascot, for the museum’s young audiences. She also has made children’s books come to life on screen and helped manage expectations about how to social distance and wear a mask at school via the museum’s “Ready for Kindergarten” project, which is distributed to kindergarten classes across the state.

And as the museum reopens to a limited audience, she’s back at work in guest services as she ponders new audiences to reach and new ways to present the museum to the world online. “There are infinite ways we can continue to reinvent,” she said. “Ways where we can take what we have in our collection and let students dive deeper into those objects, ways to create an experience.”

See examples of Pevay’s work at https://explore.berkshiremuseum.org/ready-for-kindergarten-2020 and https://explore.berkshiremuseum.org/weemuse-digital-discovery.