Taking Chucalissa Along to the Next Job

Lauren Huber during her internship at the National Air and Space Museum

by Lauren Huber

My interest in museums comes from my love of history, art, culture, archaeology, and the passion to inspire others with these subjects. I knew I was interested in a possible museum career, but the Graduate Assistant position at Chucalissa really helped inspire me to pursue this goal. One of the reasons I want to pursue a career in a museum is because they are probably the coolest places to work, at least in my opinion. When you step into a museum to go to your job, you are surrounded by so many great masterpieces of art, pottery, sculpture, architecture, and historical objects that make up the history of a people or culture somewhere in the world. How can one not love to work in a place surrounded by such important items of human history?

I was introduced to the working museum world as a docent at my undergraduate university, the University of Missouri’s Art & Archaeology Museum. Being a docent for two years helped me prepare for my graduate assistantship at the C.H. Nash Museum at Chucalissa. Once I was there, I was very excited to learn that I could get experience in many different aspects of the Museum. I am interested in museum collections, so my first project at Chucalissa was to edit and update the Museum’s Collections Management Policy. This was a big responsibility because the Policy is what protects the Museum collection and ensures that the objects are taken care of so that they will be around for many more generations.

In addition, I cleaned and wrote up condition reports for objects in the exhibit cases in the main hall. For those readers who are not familiar with condition reports: I wrote down size measurements, described the object in detail, noted any deterioration, and photographed the objects for the main exhibit hall. This may not seem like fun to the average person, but this was heaven to me for those months I spent working on the project!

With a year of working with the Museum’s collection under my belt, I applied for a collections/curatorial internship with the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C. When I got the call that I had been awarded a curatorial internship in the Space History Department, I had to keep pinching myself to see if this was real. Chucalissa had given me the experience to pursue a well sought after internship with the Smithsonian, and that experience did me well. Not only did I get to work with the Space Suit Documentation Project, but my other experiences of interacting with visitors at Chucalissa gave me the ability to work on other similar projects for the Air and Space Museum.

At Chucalissa, in addition to working with the Museum collections, I in assisting with Volunteer Days. Everything I learned from working with volunteers at Chucalissa has helped men on my new museum job at The Heritage Farmstead Museum. I am the Heritage Farmstead Museum’s Volunteer Coordinator where I have enacted and shaped new ideas and programs for the museum to establish a long-standing relationship with their volunteers.

If it were not for my graduate assistantship at the C.H. Nash Museum at Chucalissa, I don’t believe I would be in the position that I am today. I will always take what I learned at Chucalissa with me to every museum job that I have in the future!

Lauren Huber is a former Graduate Assistant at the C.H. Nash Museum at Chucalissa is currently the Volunteer Coordinator at the Heritage Farmstead Museum in Plano, Texas. Lauren can be contacted at L.Huber20@gmail.com

About C.H. Nash Museum

The mission of the C.H. Nash Museum at Chucalissa, a division of the University of Memphis, is to protect and interpret the Chucalissa archaeological site’s cultural and natural environments, and to provide the University Community and the Public with exceptional educational, participatory, and research opportunities on the landscape’s past and present Native American and traditional cultures.
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