First and second year museum studies students along with Director Glenn Willumson recently traveled to Washington, D.C. for professional development. The students met with professionals from many museums and fields in the city such as the American Museum of American History, the Phillips Collection, and the National Museum of Natural History.
This enriching experience has helped second year student Kathryn Rohlwing “think more critically about the type of position and institution that I would like to apply for as I am getting ready to graduate.”
First year student Katie Kelly felt that the trip was “very helpful in that I was able to get an idea of what I need to do to make myself a desirable asset in the industry.”
Nine museum studies student and one art history student attended the trip, and conversation about contemporary issues, dream jobs, and museum theory were common throughout the week.
The classes of 2015 and 2016 are not the first to undertake a major professional development trip. The program under Dr. Willumson’s tutelage has strived to take affordable, yet influential, trips every two years since he became the program director.
For many students, the highlight of the trip was visiting the anthropology collection at the Smithsonian Institution’s off-site storage facility with curator of North America, Dr. Gwynn Isaacs. With over 150 years of active collecting, the objects can fill a space the size of a football field, three stories high.
Rohlwing said that she “loved to see the sheer size of the collections space, the way the shelving disappeared into darkness. It is a sight that not many people get to see.”
All ten students urge others to attend professional development trips such as these. Kelly emphasizes how these trips will help students “round themselves out,” both professionally and personally. There is an “entire world of museums” throughout the planet, and Rohlwing stresses that “the only way to know what you want is to experience as much as you can before graduation.”