This month we will be starting a new Tenement Museum feature on the blog, called MEET THE TENEMENT MUSEUM STAFF. Every month we will profile a different staff member that works at the Tenement Museum to find out a little bit more about what they do here at the museum and who they are. For our first entry, we were fortunate enough to interview the Facilities Manager at the museum, Kevin McCallister. Kevin was able to answer all of our questions – and yes, that includes questions about how often people ask him about the movie HOME ALONE. Enjoy!
TM: What is your title?
KM: My title at the Tenement Museum is Facilities Manager.
TM: What are your job responsibilities?
KM: My main responsibility at the Museum is to ensure that all facets of the property are operating efficiently and safely for our visitors and staff members 24/7 – 365 days a year. Other responsibilities include but not limited to are; supervisor, security guard, handyman, and a good ear for listening.
TM: Where did you work before coming to the Tenement Museum?
KM: Prior to joining the museum, for ten years I worked with the restaurant group Boqueria. Boqueria has three locations in New York City, one in Washington, DC and one in Hong Kong. I managed the facilities for all of the NYC locations. When a new restaurant was being built, I would advised the partners on the build out and progress until its completion. I also negotiated fair prices for the partners on all work performed by outside vendors.
TM: Most interesting story related to your job since starting here?
KM: The most interesting story since starting this job is going on right now, with the construction project of the new exhibit and office space in 103. As I watched the space get stripped down to the wood beams and getting a look at the bones of the building, it put a vision of what is to come. This time next year the exhibit will be open to the public, and I will be looking forward hearing all about the visitors reactions to the new exhibits.
TM: What is your family’s immigrant history?
KM: Although I do not know when ancestors immigrated to America, I do know that my paternal grandparents were of Scottish/Irish decent and my maternal grandparents were of Norwegian decent.
TM: Where did you grow up?
KM: I grew up in Sunset Park Brooklyn, with my parents, two brothers and three sisters. When I turned 18 years old, my parents, younger brother and I moved to Staten Island. I moved back to Brooklyn to the Kensington area after meeting my wife Helen.
TM: What do you like doing in your free time?
KM: I enjoy going out to dine with Helen and our son Cassidy, we are always looking for a new place to add to our list of eateries. I also enjoy fishing and crabbing here in the city and have followed the Mets & Jets for over 40 years with the ups and downs… through first and last place, with last place being a common place.
TM: Your name is Kevin McAllister the same name as the lead character played by Macaulay Culkin in Home Alone. Have you seen Home Alone and how often do people bring this up?
KM: Yes, I have seen all three Home Alone movies. People under 30 years old have watched the movies as children and people over 45 have watched them with their kids. Around Christmas time the movies are aired a lot, so I frequently get asked “Do you know, you have the same name as Macaulay Culkin in Home Alone?”
TM: Favorite Tenement Museum tour and why?
KM: My favorite tour was The Foods of the Lower East Side. I was able to catch Adam Steinberg before he left, he did a great job explaining and setting the scene for each food stop, as well as getting everyone involved. I also liked getting a free food to taste during the tour.
TM: Favorite place to go in the Lower East Side?
KM: My favorite place to go in the Lower East Side would be the path along the East River, it is a great place to walk, sit or just relax… The price of admission is great, since its free! I am looking forward to The Lowline Park that is planned for the area. As far as food goes, the Lower East Side has many food options, most of which are reasonably priced.
- Post by Jonathan Pace, Communications Manager at the Lower East Side Tenement Museum