Saturday, April 30, 2016

Public History students at the MANY Conference

Emily Kraft (History, '16) and Taqiyah Gibbons (History, '18) pose with Don Wildman,
host of the Travel Channel show, "Mysteries at the Museum." Wildman was
the keynote speaker at the conference. 

On April 17-19, Daemen students Emily Kraft and Taqiyah Gibbons attended the annual conference of the Museum Association of New York (MANY), held at Lake Placid. Both Emily and Taqiyah are History majors and Public History minors who learned about MANY while taking Introduction to Public History last semester with Professor Lenora Henson, who is also Curator and Director of Public Programming at the Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural site and a regular participant in the Museum Association of New York. She encouraged Emily and Taqiyah to attend the conference at a reduced rate as student volunteers. As Henson explained, "In addition to seeking out internships (which any student interested in exploring a museum career should do as soon as possible), attending a professional conference is a great way to learn more about a field and see if it feels 'right'. It's also a great place to get a head start on networking." 

"I was very excited to learn about a networking opportunity for exactly the field I was interested in," Kraft wrote. "Before talking to Professor Henson, I did not realize New York held such a conference; as a student graduating in May, I am interested in any opportunity to get myself in the field and begin to prepare for my future. As a student I was excited about who I would meet and what is currently being discussed in the field."

A view of Lake Placid, a major recreation destination and site of the 1980 Winter Olympics. 

"All in all the conference was a great opportunity to network and put ourselves out there in the field," Kraft explained. "Professor Henson was a big help and she introduced us to many of her colleagues in the field. It would be so nice to see other students go in the future and use the trip as professional exposure."

Kraft and Gibbons met students, faculty, and museum professionals from across the state. Kraft, who is currently exploring graduate programs, learned more about several master's degree programs in Museum Studies, including Syracuse University's: "I was able to network and find out what the program is like. I plan to research further and keep this as a possibility for grad school."

Kraft integrated her new knowledge about museum programming into her Academic Festival presentation on April 20. The presentation was based upon research she did at Warsaw's Museum of the History of Polish Jews for her senior thesis project, which she completed in December 2015. As Kraft explained, museums are rushing to adjust to the expectations of the millennial generation with more interactive, digital, and online components, which creates opportunities in the field for college graduates with relevant skills.

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Daniel Hoffmann said...
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