The Museum of the Cherokee Indian (MCI) has announced the hiring of Alex Lane, a member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (EBCI), as its new manager of Visitor Services. A newly created position in MCI’s Operations division, the manager of Visitor Services’ responsibilities include overseeing the Museum’s box office, store, and webstore, and promoting a positive experience for guests.
“Alex was the perfect candidate for the position,” says Director of Operations Michael Slee, an EBCI tribal member. “At MCI, we want our retail experience to be an extension of the authentic experience you get when touring our permanent exhibition, seeing a temporary exhibition, or interacting with one of our Cultural Specialists. Alex personifies the mission here and has the expertise to make our frontline visitor experience a model for tribal museums.”
A graduate of Swain High School who grew up in Bryson City, Lane earned degrees in fashion merchandising and consumer journalism from the University of Georgia. While living in Los Angeles, she earned a Professional Designation Associates degree in beauty marketing and product development, going on to manage large teams in the fast-paced environment of Ulta Beauty stores in Chicago and Asheville. Lane and her husband moved home to North Carolina to raise their first child, and she is eager to serve her Tribe and community through her work at MCI.
“My goal with managing the front of house is to represent our mission of preserving and perpetuating the history, culture, and stories of our people,” she affirms. “I want to curate a space in the Museum Shop that is representative of who we are as Cherokee people now in 2022. It should feel like a place that we can be proud of.”
In her first weeks, Lane has prioritized bringing in new Museum store vendors that reflect the values of MCI and Cherokee people and purchasing from local artists.
“Local crafts are an important part of our culture and are a source of livelihood for most, so I want to make sure we are showcasing as many of our talented artists as we can,” she says.
To make the application process time efficient for both parties, interested artists can use the Museum’s New Vendor Application to digitally submit a synopsis of their work and photos. Lane will personally reach out to selected artists to make arrangements for purchasing.
Lane’s team also looks forward to offering a new online shopping experience just in time for holiday gift-giving. With a target relaunch date of September 2022, MCI’s webstore will feature museum-branded goods, books, and apparel, accessories, home goods, and more from Cherokee artisans and leading Native brands.
Lane advises that, though these intentional changes both in-store and online may take some time, the results will be well-worth the wait. “A lot of thought is going into what we bring you all,” she says.
- Museum of the Cherokee Indian release