While many positions at museums are in a sense ideal, interesting and could provide growth opportunities, my idea of an ideal museum job would have to intersect with my concept of an ideal museum to work for. I have had the pleasure of meeting and working with many museum professionals and while I really like what they do, I have come to the understanding that their ideas and goals are not always well received by the institutions that they work for. I’m not sure exactly if I am insinuating that I would want to be a museum director myself or if I’m simply not sure if the museum that I ideally would want to work for exists yet.
I have always felt intensely that Alaska native peoples are a “renaissance” people and that the intersections of art, science and technology are so very present within our historical and present day cultures. I also feel that indigenous histories, research and perspectives are not regarded in the ways they should be consistently and that there is still much work to be done to make sure that Native peoples are not made invisible. Just this week it was announced that a “lost” Tlingit fort was “discovered” in Sitka Alaska, some of these news article make no mention of the oral histories of the Tlingit peoples of Sitka and some of the articles note the Aleut and Alutiiq Indigenous groups were “allies” to the Russians, making no note of the history of slavery inflicted upon the Unangan peoples by the Russian invaders. This serves as an example of the disappearing of indigenous histories that is still taking place and the presenting of indigenous culture for those other than indigenous peoples. I would hope to work in a museum that preserves Indigenous culture and knowledge for indigenous people, not just of them. All too often we are separated from our culture in systematic ways that cause continued actions that invalidate our current existence. We are living peoples of Alaska and I want to see a museum for us, our knowledge, our science, our technology, our innovations, our adaptations and our current work towards these goals celebrated, highlighted and shared with our perspectives integrated. While most museums seek to do so in part, I do not see one doing it as its whole mission. If I was to work for an institution, I would want its goals to align with my ideas about what and who the museum could be for and what could be created by supporting those ideas.
That being said, there are many activities that take place in museums that I am very interested in and would love to learn about and take part in. As well as my education in art, I also spent time studying wildlife biology and have done work for the federal government through internships with NOAA, the US forest service and the department of Fish and Wildlife, so I am very interested in research of many types, both inside and outside of the lab. As I stated before, the intersection of art and science is very important to me and museums seem to have the right balance of both of those topics. I also am very interested in the concept of artistic recreations and objective based art pieces, which have the potential to use art as a means to convey perspectives, knowledge and ideas through created works. My current experiences with nonprofits and grants make the idea of museum projects interesting as well and ideas about creating exhibitions. All in all, there are many avenues in museum jobs that I have interest in and would like to gain more perspectives about, I’m not sure which or where I would fit in but most likely something with curation, creation, research and/or design. Quyana!
Sources article: https://www.livescience.com/19th-century-tlingit-fort-alaska.html
Q: What sort of museums do you think we need more of?