Meet the Board: Bonnie Roche

Bonnie Roche, Exhibitions Manager, Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens


Tell us a little bit about where you work and what you do there?

I am the Exhibitions Manager for the Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Garden. I create exhibitions that uphold the organization’s identity, stay true to its mission, and transform the visitor experience. I am entrusted to produce exhibitions from inception to completion, from gallery shows to full facility and site-specific installations.

What is your earliest museum memory?

Visiting COSI and riding the high wire bike and lifting a car as a very young child. Talk about cool! 

What led you to go into the museum field?

It was not till college that I knew I wanted to join the museum field. I struggled through school for a long time; it never came easy to me.  After high school I went to Edison Community College in Piqua, Ohio and took an art history class, and loved it. It was the first class I did really well in. From then on I followed that path, which lead me to the museum field. It is amazing how once you find a passion - direction becomes much clearer. 

What is your workspace like?

My office is a concrete block, windowless room – filled with life.  Music is always playing, art and photos on the walls, and at times in a state of active disarray. Its overall function is always changing from acting as a storage unit, to a private meeting/work space, to becoming a space for creativity and brainstorming. 

What item in your office can you not live without?

My mini level and 16’ tape measure – I am a very visual person and am constantly pulling out my tape measure to get a gauge of an object's size – not to mention they come in very handy during installation. 

Describe your favorite work memory. What was your best day like?

The first winter I worked at the Conservatory I was able to secure an exhibition of Chuck Jones’ original animation cells for “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.” This body of work had never traveled beyond the Chuck Jones Center for Creativity in California, and it was such a joy to bring that exhibition to Ohio.  

What does your dream museum look like?

I don’t think I really have a dream museum. Museums have the ability to push boundaries, bring a voice to stories that need told, and connect people to one another. As long as museums continue to do this, then there is no need to dream of something else. If I had to give my Miss America answer – it would be for a universal respect and understanding. The looting, smuggling and destruction to ancient artifacts would be something unheard of.

What is the best advice you have ever received?

That skills and abilities are not determined by grades or tests, you can do well in life by understanding, persisting and dedicating time. Be kind and dream big. 

What are you currently reading?

How to “Kill a Mocking Bird.” I am working to read the classics that I did not read when I was young. 

Is there anything else you would like to add?

My favorite food is mashed potatoes and gravy, my favorite animal is an otter, and my favorite colors are green and blue.