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Museum Studies in Motion Spring 2013


Be at the Center of Things


Volume 5, Issue 3


Alternate Academic Career Paths Forum

Career advice from successful Alt-Ac professionals help grad students think about opportunities outside the world of traditional academe

As graduate students we are expected to serve as Teaching Assistants, publish in scholarly journals, and present at academic conferences in order to be competitive for tenure track professor positions. But, with the level of competition and shortage of tenure track positions available, some grads are realizing that they will have to be more creative in their job search. This spring, Tracy and I decided to organize a forum to help grad students from a variety of academic fields find strategies they can use to market themselves for career opportunities that require the skills of an academic but lie beyond a classroom or lecture hall. Alt. Ac. careers can include public history, museums, grant agencies and state humanities forums, and academic staff positions. Grad students were encouraged to think about the types of transferrable skills, such as problem-solving, analytical and research skills, and communication skills, that they possess that are highly valued in non-academic contexts. Perry Collins, a Program Officer at the National Endowment for the Humanities who joined us via Skype, Matthew Fisher, President of Night Kitchen Interactive, and Gene Castellano, Archive Leader of the Gore History Archives at W.L. Gore & Associates, Inc., discussed the steps they took to land their current positions. One key piece of advice provided by all three panelists was the importance of networking including face-to-face interaction by attending networking events or digitally through social media. Sharing your research interests on twitter or creating a professional e-portfolio are two strategies that will help you connect with like-minded professionals and can lead to new opportunities.

In this issue...

Alternate Career Paths, pg. 1 Alumna Profile, pg. 2 Museum Education Project, pg. 3 Adjunct Faculty, pg. 4

Grad students had the opportunity to ask questions and network with the professionals during a light reception. Grads also left with a packet filled with resources and information including a list of job resources, articles on pursuing alt. academic careers, and a brief bio of each of the speakers. Due to the positive feedback we received from the attendees, we will be repeating it in spring 2014. If you have any comments about the forum or suggestions for panelists, please contact Tracy at or myself at , pg. 6 By Stephanie Lampkin

Alumna Profile: Kate Duffy We thought now would be a great time to check in with one of our former graduate assistants, Kate Duffy. Kate received her M.A. from the UD History program and the museum studies certificate in 2012.

What is your current position? I am a Fulbright Scholar living in Montreal, Quebec researching Montreal’s urban development over the last 200 years in Goose Village. This is in part a public history project, so I’m making an interactive digital documentary about Goose Village using oral histories and archival material. How has the UD MSST certificate program helped you shape your career path? The Museum Studies Program was excellent! I actually wrote an Emerging Museum Professionals blog entry in praise of it, which you can read here. I’ve worked two museum internships. The first was at the Rosenbach Museum & Library. I pitched in with everything -- painted walls, wrote exhibit labels, conducted research for an upcoming exhibit -- but mainly I catalogued and learned the art and mystery of PastPerfect. My second internship was in Tenakee Springs, Alaska. Alaska State Museums hired me to help volunteers create a new local history museum in a former liquor store. For a city person, it was quite a change to live in a place with one unpaved road, accessible only by boat or seaplane. Fortunately the people were very welcoming. We’d hang out in the natural hot spring, and they’d share stories of the old days. And I got to bring home a box of salmon that I caught. What program will you pursue as you to prepare to return to grad school?

Kate at the Montreal Firefighters Museum

In the fall I will be starting the Ph.D. program in American Studies at Brown University. My dissertation topic is unsettled as this point, but it may involve nineteenth century urban underworlds of crime and vice. The department also houses a Public Humanities program, which I will be joining as well. What is your career goal? I tend to imagine myself working at a historic site or a local history museum. I have a vision of creating the most exciting historic house museum in the world. But I’m open to pretty much anything that involves creative thought and/or the possibility of adventure. Any advice for current or incoming MSST students? Take advantage of every opportunity! Small things lead to big things. Or in my case, to more graduate school. Perhaps I’m more of a cautionary tale?

Sustaining Places Volunteer Workshops provide guidance for museum staff Why should people become volunteers at your museum or historic site? What is the incentive? Is there an individual in charge of coordinating volunteers at your organization? This spring, we organized two rounds of our two-part workshop "All Hands on Deck: Assessing Your Volunteer Program and Planning for the Future." Participants from institutions including the Iron Hill Museum, Lewes Historical Society, and the Delaware State Library received expert advise on creating volunteer position descriptions and volunteer manuals as well as tips on improving volunteer recruitment campaigns. Following the workshop, participants noted that the knowledge they gained about planning a volunteer program increased dramatically as they walked away with tools that they could implement at their own organizations. Coming up in the fall, we will be repeating our "Uninvited Guests" pest management workshop so be sure to look for updates at Susan Ellis from Energize Inc. leading the first workshop at the Mercer Museum in April. 2

Museum Studies in Motion - University of Delaware - Spring 2013

Museum Education students create programs for the UD Botanic Gardens and Hagley Museum and Library

What is the best way to help museum studies students learn the process of developing education programs? How can museum studies coursework provide the work experience that hiring managers are seeking? In MSST 607: Museum Education and Interpretation, in spring, 2013, the answer was to develop education programs for two local cultural institutions, Hagley Museum and The University of Delaware Botanic Gardens (UDBG). Six teams of students worked on projects ranging from an interpretive video to an exhibition evaluation to revamped school programs. One goal of this project was to give each student a useful model for future ‘working world’ programming situations. We discussed and tried to implement a five-step program-planning model: investigate needs and resources, generate ideas, try them out, revise, and finalize. Another goal, equally important, was to give each student a program sample for a job application portfolio and the experience of a work team. At the UD Botanic Gardens, Director of the Gardens, Professor John Frett and Assistant Director, Melinda Zoehrer, asked, “What do our members want in adult programming?” Three students implemented an online survey. They not only generated interesting membership data but also provided a model for an annual programming survey. Two students maximized their varied areas of expertise for the second UDBG project. One, a graduating Longwood Fellow, and a second, a graduating history MA student, wrote and produced a short video introduction to the garden area at the UDBG entrance. In the garden, beauty marries functionality, to demonstrate sustainable plants and practices as an alternative to lawn areas in a small home garden. The two students contacted managers of the nearby UDCreamery to show the video on their in-house screens as customers enjoy their ice-cream cones. The UDBG staff may also load the video on a re-designed website. At The Hagley Museum, Joan Hoge-North, director of museum services, presented the inside story of the museums new strategic direction. Lola Russell, curator of interpretation and visitor service, and Jeff Durst, education coordinator, raised these questions, “How can we increase interest in our exhibition about simple machines, ‘Easy Does It!’? “Can we reenergize In this photo, Alexandra Mairs-Kessler, Ph. D. our school programs about water power and polymeric student in history, Ashleigh Brown, MA student materials?” “Can we make it more interesting for families in human development and family studies, to walk through the powder yards, site of E. I. du Pont’s and Caroline Western, a senior majoring in first black powder manufactory?” Four teams worked on anthropology, material culture preservation, and art history, show the map poster activity. They these projects, applying the new strategic initiatives to searched for and enlarged an early map of the their work. They tell us that budget has already been Hagley site and developed ‘puzzle pieces,’ photos allocated to move ahead on some of the students’ ideas, of components of a water power system. as part of the new strategic direction.

Museum Studies in Motion - University of Delaware - Spring 2013


Museum Education, cont'd. For the waterpower tour, three students developed introductory and concluding activities. They wanted to assure that all small tour groups focused on the tour themes.

This fall, the course Museums and Modern Technology will be offered to museum studies students under a new instructor. Mike Zarafonetis (you can follow him on twitter @MikeZarafonetis) currently serves as the Digital Scholarship Librarian at Haverford College in Haverford, PA. The course will be taught in the History Media Center (HMC). HMC staff members will spend the latter half of the summer creating cloud storage on the servers in order to accomodate the demands for the course. The other museum studies courses that will be available to grad students during the 20132014 school year include: • MSST 600: Introduction to Museum Studies with Kasey Grier • MSST 601: Museum Curatorship Collections Management with Frank McKelvey • MSST 629: Theory and Practice of Historic Preservation with David Ames. Keep your eyes on the course catalog for Spring 2014 museum studies courses.

Was the project a success? Only time will tell. Staff members will determine the viability of student ideas. However, two pieces of evidence suggest success. The students contributed nearly 400 hours of program development time to the two institutions. In addition, several students commented, on their final course evaluations that they liked “gaining practical experience in an area relevant to my interests,” “hands-on experience,” and “group projects.”

Jeff Durst, Hagley Education Coordinator, and Lola Russell, Hagley Curator, with MSST 607 projects.

By Rosemary T. Krill

The Museum Studies Program at the University of Delaware 77 East Main Street | Newark, DE 19711 (302) 831-1251


Katherine (Kasey) Grier, Director Tracy Jentzsch, Staff Assistant Kelsey Ransick, Graduate Assistant Gretchen Pruett, Graduate Assistant Stephanie Lampkin, Graduate Assistant

Tracy Jentzsch

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Museum Studies in Motion - University of Delaware - Spring 2013

Spring 2013  
Spring 2013  

University of Delaware Museum Studies, museum education, graduate students