Marco Hernandez was a Preparator in the Exhibition Department at the American Museum of Natural History. In his five years at AMNH, he worked on many exhibits including the Hall of Biodiversity, the Endangered! exhibit, the Hall of Human Biology and Evolution, and many others. Marco is now the Exhibits Director at the Staten Island Children's Museum.
His first love is art, but he was also happy re-creating a towering canopy tree in the Central African Republic rain forest diorama for the Hall of Biodiversity. "I studied and did art as long as I can remember, ever since I was a little kid," he told us. "I also loved nature, but I never thought about making the connection."
Marco graduated from Parsons School of Design in New York City with a degree in painting and sculpture. He was working as a freelance illustrator when he saw an ad in the newspaper for an opening at AMNH. "I had a lot of the requirements mentioned in the job, art and carpentry experience especially. But I didnt have a science background, which they also wanted." When Marco went for an interview, he was told he was the last person scheduled. "It was really just a formality since they had pretty much settled on someone else. I thought I had a good interview, but I wasnt very hopeful after learning that," he said.
He showed his portfolio to Steve Quinn, Senior Production Manager in the Exhibition Department of the American Museum of Natural History, who was enormously impressed with the work he had done. "I guess that tipped the scales, because two days later I got a call saying the job was mine."
Does it matter that he has no formal training in science, we asked Marco. "My knowledge of natural history was strengthened by the people I worked with here. All of us came from different backgrounds and different fields of study, and a lot of us, myself included, study science on our own time.
"I believe it enriched me as a person and an artist to have the opportunity to learn and talk and work with the people here. In so many ways, the Museum became my best teacher. It is more than a university to me, because I was working and learning at the same time. Not only did it enhance my skills, it gave me a whole new love I didnt have before. It was been a highly positive influence because of the people I worked with, the resources that are available, and the access I had to the most spectacular dioramas in the whole world."