Ithaca is People: Randi Millman-Brown
Q: Alright, so tell me what you do?
A: I do a lot of different things; I wear a lot of hats I guess. I am the visual resources curator at Ithaca College for the Department of Art History. I manage their visual images that the faculty uses to teach their classes with. If there is an image that they can’t find, I have to find it for them and of course try to make sure that it is the highest resolution that they can find. I am an art historian and an architectural historian as well. I am also a photographer, with a master’s degree in art history and a bachelor’s degree in photography and studio art. I am mom of two adult children. My son is a musician who lives in Nashville and my daughter is a photographer and photo editor in New York City. I am also a writer. I wrote a book many years ago called “Fun Places to go with Children in New York.” And right now I am working on fiction/nonfiction novel about my great uncle who I think was murdered by the Nazis in Norway in 1941. We just got back from Norway. My family, the 4 of us, and my mom went back to visit family.
Q: What did you do in Norway?
A: We ate food! We also drove around and looked at the landscape and my son has never met these people. He has never met my cousins and his great uncle, my mom’s brother. So it was kind of just a way to meet family. We were there for 6 days it was very short, but very fun. We just ate great food, fed reindeer, and had cloudberry desert that my cousin made (the berries only grow in Norway, maybe Sweden I’m not sure). We just got back about a week ago.
Q: Great, so turning the scales back to Ithaca. You said you have been in Ithaca for about 23 years now?
A: Right, so we used to live on the west coast. And then my mother in law found this job in the paper at Ithaca College, so I applied and got the job and we moved here. We were living in the Bay Area, in Oakland actually, and all of the schools had bars on the windows and even though I loved living there I didn’t want my kids to go to school there. We lived in a really nice area right near the lake, right next to the ice cream shop. It was great, but it was just too hard to have two kids there. So, we did a pros and cons thing on a poster and moved to Ithaca and we have been here ever since. My mother and father in law both lived in Ithaca, but he passed away just a few years later. We actually ended up buying my in laws house because my mother in law decided to move to Oregon. Then, my kids could go to the North East Elementary School which is a walk across the street. It just kind of worked out nicely in terms of raising kids.
Q: In Ithaca, there are quite a bit of family-fun stuff and you writing a book on family fun in New York, what were your favorite things to do with your kids when growing up in the Ithaca and Tompkins County Area?
A: Well I work 10 months, I don’t work in the summer. It is a really nice perk. My husband would take care of the kids during the day and he is a backpacker/mountaineer type of guy so he would take them on hikes during the day. I would find out later that they went down some cliffs with them. So we have explored a lot of the area and we have done a lot of different things. I’ve done a lot of hiking and photography. I guess being outdoors is what we have always done with the kids. My kids are now 23 and 25 so they are older and not living here anymore, but that is what they remember also about growing up here. The book I wrote when they were little (5 and 3 years old), I couldn’t find a book or guide for New York State for them so I thought, I am just going to write it. I wrote two proposals and sent them to two publishers and I got one. It is weird, that doesn’t ever happen. Doing that, I had to travel the whole state. I found some really quirky places like the Jell-O Museum. My first chapter was on Long Island because that is where I grew up. Then, central New York and Ithaca was a big chunk of it because I lived here. We have also gone hiking and we have gone to all of the waterfalls that there are to go to. As the kids have gotten older and have come back to visit we have done more winery tours.
Q: It sounds like your takeover could go in a lot of different directions. Do you have any ideas that you want to do with it?
A: Not exactly. I think I should just continue what I usually do, which are outdoor shots. I could change my mind. I was thinking about it yesterday and it is going to be interesting. I don’t know yet I’m thinking about it I work during the week up at IC and I do post things from up there occasionally, but a picture of my office isn’t that interesting. I think I will just continue doing outdoor shots!
Q: And lastly, if you could describe Ithaca in one word, what would it be?