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Museum fun!

Orianna

ORIANNA

Major: Humanities – emphases in
History, Theatre, and Spanish

Hometown: Denver, CO
Year: Senior

One of the most valuable things I did in college was getting museum internships. I have thought for a while that I might be interested in working in a museum and the internships I had helped me solidify my decision. Not only did I learn more about having a job in a museum, I also got a taste of how to find a job. I scoured the internet for places I wanted to work and asked people if they knew of any museum opportunities. If I couldn’t find information on the internet, I called the people I wanted to work with and asked if they had a need for an intern. Talk about terrifying!

The first one I found was over the summer: the Byers-Evans House Museum in Denver, Colorado. It mixed the two things I was interested in learning more about: museum management and collections management. They even had a theatre group! The problem was it was meant for the end of the summer and I was hoping to work the whole summer.

“Well,” I thought, “It can’t hurt to apply and see what happens.”

Not only did I end up getting it, but the Assistant Director, Ashley Rogers, wanted me to start as soon as possible so I could work with the theatre company on their summer play as well. Since I was interested in learning about how to integrate theatre and museums, I was ecstatic!

Working at the Byers-Evans House Museum turned out to be one of the best experiences of my life. The people I worked with were fantastic and I was given so many opportunities. Not only did I learn about museum management and collections management, but I learned some ways in which a theatre company can be integrated into a museum, inventorying a museum shop, and many other aspects of running of a small museum.

Every time anything special or new was going on in the museum, Ashley and Director Kevin Gramer made sure I was involved in some way. In addition, they both talked to me about my future and where I wanted to go. I felt like I was truly a part of the team.

In addition to the Byers-Evans House Museum, I did another internship in the fall at the Animas Museum in Durango, Colorado. I enjoyed it so much that I have continued to volunteer there this semester. An equally great experience, the Animas Museum introduced me to the history of La Plata County and has given me opportunities to explore education in museums, more about collections, and curation.

I had less time to spend at the Animas Museum because I was taking classes at the same time, so I was not as involved in special events. However, Director Carolyn Bowra and Museum Assistant Brianna McCormick always ask me if I am available to help with this or that thing. In fact, right now I am writing an article for the annual publication, “History La Plata.” My internship at the Animas Museum culminated in me guest curating a small exhibit. Curator of Collections Jan Postler and Susan Jones helped me design, put together, and install a loan exhibit for the Fort Lewis Library.

Both of these experiences have molded my future plans. I plan to continue to work in museums for my career and I feel like I have the tools to start my search for jobs and masters programs when I graduate. Not only do I have an idea of what I want, I know how to get there and who to ask if I need help!

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