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Meet the next generation of museum workers! Laura Kate Gibson Toronto ON Museum Assistant Luthuli Museum (KwaZuluNatal, South Africa) Commonwealth Association of Museums

Once again this year, the Canadian Museums Association is working in partnership with the Department of Canadian Heritage to deliver the Young Canada Works at Building Careers in Heritage program (YCW-BCH), providing unemployed or underemployed graduates with an opportunity to acquire meaningful practical experience. Under the program in 2009-2010, eleven interns were assigned jobs in the arts heritage sector, in Canada and abroad. Six of these interns share their experiences.


n May 2009 I started a twelve week internship at the South African National Gallery as part of my Master of Museum Studies course at the University of Toronto. I became increasingly fascinated with the country’s cultural heritage field and so was delighted to be awarded the Commonwealth Association of Museums (CAM) internship, which allows me to spend six months working at the Chief Albert Luthuli Museum in KwaZuluNatal, South Africa. Chief Luthuli was the first South African to receive the Nobel Peace Prize for his struggle against the injustice of apartheid. The museum is located at his former home and provided an inspiring setting for the recent CAM Group for Children in African Museums workshop that I was honoured to be involved with. Delegates from across Commonwealth Africa discussED creative ways that museums can use culture as a tool for development. Future tasks will include assisting with education programs, research and collections management duties. So far the internship, which commenced in September, has proven to be particularly enriching for the wealth of interesting and dedicated museum professionals that I have met. ** Read Laura’s article in the November-December 2009 of Muse, “Realising the rainbow nation: Critical museology in South Africa.”

Eva Tkaczuk Edmonton AB Collections Manager Canmore Museum and Geoscience Centre (AB)


completed the University of Alberta’s Human Ecology Program, where I studied museum curatorship and conservation. Since October I have been interning at the Canmore Museum and Geoscience Centre as collections manager. This position offered me the chance to organize collection and to document the artefacts by implementing a database and creating artefact files that will hold all documents pertaining to each artefacts. While awaiting the installation of new compact storage units, I have been physically placing accession numbers on each artefact, creating supports and organizing them in storage. I am thrilled with this opportunity to assist the museum with updating their collection.

Martine Lapierre Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu QC Museology Technician Musée du Haut-Richelieu (Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu QC)


y combining a major in anthropology and a diploma in archive administration, I recently earned a Bachelor of Arts degree. It always seemed obvious to me that we rarely know about the immediate surroundings of our daily lives, surroundings that often seem to be devoid of interest. What I have discovered at the Musée du Haut Richelieu has changed the way I see my hometown. The diversity of tasks performed allows me to get increasingly familiar with the world of museums. I have been entrusted with the library, scanning an important collection of negatives and updating the collection’s database.


muse l january/february 2010

Maegan McIsaac Toronto ON Curatorial Intern Founders Heritage Park (Nelson, New Zealand)


Chelsea Nichols Amherst NS Interpretation and Outreach Assistant New Zealand Police Museum (Wellington, New Zealand)


began my internship at the New Zealand Police Museum in October 2009, after finishing my MA in Museum and Gallery Studies at the University of St Andrews in Scotland, and my BA in Art History and Visual Studies at the University of Toronto. My projects at the Police Museum involve researching and organizing the museum’s first travelling exhibition on their collection of 19th century mug shots, and arranging an overnight forensic science camp for kids. Each day here seems to bring an interesting new task, such as reading through mug shot books from the 1880s, learning how to lift fingerprints from a crime scene with a forensics expert, researching 19th century criminal identification techniques like phrenology and fingerprinting, applying for project grants, or discussing exhibition design with other museums. I love having the chance to explore such a range of fascinating topics with the very dynamic staff of the Police Museum, and living among the police recruits at the Royal New Zealand Police College has given me a really unique perspective on both police and Kiwi culture.

his spring, I completed an MA in Art History and Curatorial Studies at York University. I am currently working at Founders Heritage Park in Nelson, New Zealand organized by the Canadian Museum Association and Young Canada Works. Founders Park is a historic village that tells unique stories about Nelson’s past through the building displays and collection. I have been given the unique opportunity to write interpretation texts and create new displays with the overall goal of enhancing visitor experience in the park. My supervisors encourage me to be creative with my research and display methods, and the process of uncovering and sharing Nelson’s unique stories through the collection is very exciting. I have also learned a great deal about creative display methods, research tools, and museum storytelling from the many Nelson region museum professionals I have connected with during my time at Founders Park.

Xuan Yang Saint John NB Herbarium Intern New Brunswick Museum (Saint John)


originally come from Liuzhou, Guangxi Province of China and became a permanent resident of Canada in 2008. I graduated from the University of New Brunswick, Saint John Campus with a bachelor degree of science in May, 2009 and a major in environmental biology. I am working as an intern in the botany and mycology section, in the natural science department of New Brunswick Museum. My job focuses on the lichen collection, one of the larger and more active of such collections in Canada. My day-to-day tasks include data entry, identification of different lichen species through the microscope and organizing the identified lichen species specimens in order in the collection. The YCW internship at the New Brunswick Museum offers me a chance to gain work experience in a real work place related to my field, and gives me a realistic perspectives of how my future job look. This internship has also allowed me to learn some useful techniques/skills/knowledge, such as microscopic and chemical identification techniques for different lichen species. I have also learned about the cellular structure of lichens. The internship is a very nice experience for me in general and it’s a good way for young people and new graduates to enter the work force in their field of study.

Would you like to be part of the YCW adventure? Read the guidelines and apply online at and

janvier/février 2010 l muse


YCW - Success Stories: 2009-2010  

Under the YCW-BCH program in 2009-2010, 11 interns were assigned jobs in the arts heritage sector, in Canada and abroad. Some of the intern...

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