Due to my focus in anthropology, I probably see myself working in a cultural history museum, most likely in research and collections. When thinking about what I want to do in a museum environment, I think about the things which drew me into anthropology in the first place. One of the things which really got me interested in anthropology as a field of study was how active it felt. Anthropology takes the things you learn in college and then applies them towards the pursuit of new knowledge, and it encourages you to look at the world through new perspectives. While I think some of that shines through in exhibit design and community interaction at a museum, I feel that the most natural fit is in the research and collections department.  
            Rather than a single ideal museum job, I feel it is more practical to consider what the ideal career path I see for myself. In practice I see myself starting out as a collections or research technician developing a familiarity with working with collections. Ideally this would include time working in a field setting either for archaeological excavations or survey work. I would then see myself advancing to the position of research archaeologist or collections manager, developing beyond preforming laboratory or fieldwork to designing projects as a research archaeologist or overseeing the collections and their treatment and preservation within the museum as a collections manager. At this stage of my career, I could easily see myself either staying at this level or potentially advancing to curator, simply depending on the workplace environment I found myself in.
            Beyond the position I found myself in the primary thing I see defining my ideal museum job is the ideals of the museum I find myself working at and the workplace culture it fosters. If the museum treats its collections with respect, works with the cultures that produce them, encourages new ideas and cooperation between staff, I feel the position would work out even if I found myself in a museum with a different focus then my personal interests, or I found myself in a lower ranked position. Under Ideal circumstance I would want to continue research in the American arctic, though not necessarily strictly in the Alaskan interior. In addition, I would prefer to be involved in interdisciplinary work where we could incorporate the skills and knowledge of different fields into our research and collections design.
            Ultimately there are numerous factors that go into my ideal museum job, and ultimately the position itself is less important compared to the workplace culture, respect towards the subject material, and freedom to explore new ideas that would allow me to truly engage in the work I would be doing.

Looking at your Ideal museum job, what aspects of that job drew you to it and how do you see yourself eventually getting there?


One Thought to “Museum Jobs: Korovin Ellis”

  1. Angela Linn

    Korovin, your point about the culture of an institution is sage advice! Something we’ll learn about in our last module about contemporary issues is that many museums continue to harbor toxic environments and perpetuate cultures of exclusion. The Instagram feed Change the Museum (https://www.instagram.com/changethemuseum/) is a graphic demonstration of just how far the profession still has to go.

    Your ideal path is similar to one I followed after my undergrad at the U of I. After some challenging fieldwork experiences I realized I much prefer lab work! 😉 I definitely love my temperature controlled environment in the basement.

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