Hello everyone! My name is Alexandra Harter and I am starting my second year in the History and Museum Studies MA program at Tufts. Growing up in Virginia, there were tons of opportunities to go to museums – especially those with a focus on history – as I went through school. While I loved studying history since I was a child, it wasn’t until my undergraduate studies at the University of Richmond that I decided to pursue my love of history in my career. My interest in museums played a significant part in this decision, as it was during my semester abroad in London and all of the time that I spent at institutions such as the British Museum and the Victoria and Albert Museum that helped me to realize what I was passionate about.
I discovered a passion for archival research and academic writing throughout my studies and interned at Agecroft Hall, a Tudor era historic house museum that was transported from England to Richmond, VA in the early twentieth century. Accessibility is a particular concern that I have within the museum, so I worked to translate the regular tour that I had learned into Spanish for visitors as part of my internship. While at Tufts, I have learned so much more about what it means to be an accessible museum as well as other issues that museums must consider when they think of how to serve their communities. I am thrilled to say that my studies here have broadened my interest in various museum positions, from curator to conservator to collections manager. I look forward to continuing to learn even more as I help to run this blog with my classmates!
Hello! My name is Abigail Lynn and I am a second year in the Art History and Museum Studies Program at Tufts University. Having grown up in rural Indiana, visiting a museum meant hopping in the car for a bit of a drive to get to a larger city. To this day, I can still remember my first visit to the Chicago Art Institute in Chicago, Illinois. It seemed like such a massive place, and there was art everywhere I looked. From that point on I knew art was always going to be a part of my life.
During my undergraduate studies, I thought I would give studio art a try, and paired that degree with studies in history and Spanish. However, when I had the opportunity to take a trip to Italy, I realized my love of research, digging into the background of an artwork or an artist to find out what makes them tick. I also realized that I wanted to share my love of art with others, and offer them the same, rewarding experience I had at the Chicago Art Institute.
Since then I have volunteered at the Nelson Atkins Museum in Kansas City, Missouri and worked for the Mariana Kistler Museum of Art in Manhattan, Kansas in order to gain more experience within the museum field. I have also had the opportunity to hold a fellowship position at the Tufts University Art Galleries. While at Tufts, I have further developed my writing and researching skills, and more fully realized the responsibilities awaiting future museum professionals. I hope this blog will provide another avenue through which I can share and learn along with other museum enthusiasts.
Hi everyone! My name is Eric Carstens and I am starting my second year in the Museum Education program. I am from Northern Virginia and grew up going to the Smithsonian Museums in DC. A long time animal enthusiast, I credit both the National Museum of Natural History and the National Aquarium for encouraging my love of the natural world.
In undergrad, I studied biology and marine science, continuing a lifelong obsession with the ocean. I figured out that I did not want to spend my days in the lab and starting pursuing science communication. I homed in on museums after interning at the Science Museum of Virginia, writing scripts and gathering information for programming about climate change. As a young visitor, I learned the value of science museums in sparking curiosity and translating complex topics into engaging and digestible information. I now want to help create inclusive museum spaces for all museum-goers to learn about science, particularly natural history, climate change, and conservation.
Since the Science Museum of Virginia, I have worked as an environmental educator at Change is Simple, an environmental non-profit, as well as a visitor services assistant at the MIT Museum and a visitor educator at the New England Aquarium. Thanks to the Tufts program, I’m far less intimidated by art and history museums and I’m looking forward to exploring all kinds of museums through this blog!
Hi! My name is Sayyara Huseynli and I am going to start my second year in Museum Education program this upcoming fall. I am from Sheki, Azerbaijan, an ancient (2700 years old) town in the Northwest of the country. Living there I was always inspired by the history of the city, which is embedded into nearly every building, street, house even a tree. The interest in all this history and subsequently historical museums was sparked by my father. Although those museums were extremely boring and didn’t have any programs like they have here in America, my dad made any object come alive through storytelling. This made our visits unforgettable. I wanted to learn how to do the same for other people visiting museums.
For my bachelor’s degree I studied Computer Science and business management and was far away from museums. Parallelly I have worked for multiple NGOs and private businesses and managed a startup. Later I decided to make a career shift and started working for YARAT Contemporary Art Space as a Teaching Assistant. I spent 5 years working for that institution and with every passing year I experienced a growing interest in education theory in non-formal environments and its power to positively influence the lives of visitors. In fall of 2019, I left my job as the Head of Education and relocated to Medford, MA to pursue a master’s degree at Tufts University. At the meantime, I also started working as a Graduate Assistant for the Department of Education. So far, I am extremely satisfied not only with the academic content of the program that I am in but also the professors, my cohort and the staff of the education department. In this blog I will manage a subpage about a project that I initiated for the Ed Department and I am super excited about this opportunity.