This blog post was written by Graduate Assistant Emily MacDonald, a master’s student in Baylor’s Museum Studies program.
This May not only marks the end of my time in the graduate program at Baylor University, but it marks the end of a wonderful two years working at the W. R. Poage Legislative Library. As a graduate student in the Museum Studies department, I had the awesome opportunity to work with Erik Swanson, the Exhibits Curator and Coordinator for Baylor Libraries. This time at the Poage taught me wonderful skills that I know I will take with me into my future career and has given me fond memories as well.
During my time at Poage, I worked on a variety of projects. I was involved in the development of exhibit planning for smaller temporary exhibits all over campus as well as the planning for the new permanent exhibit soon to open at Poage. I was able to see an idea go from the conceptual stage to installation. I learned so many technical exhibit skills that will be beneficial to my career. The great thing about working at Poage was the freedom I had to create an idea and run with it. Whenever I had a proposal for a new exhibit or a new method for organization, Poage staff members were encouraging and supportive. I saw this not only with me but all other student workers. This made for a really fantastic work environment.
In addition to all the projects going on at Poage that I was involved in, another great opportunity was getting to spend time with former U.S. Representative Chet Edwards during Chet week. Student workers had the chance to have lunch with Chet and discuss politics, current events, and their work at Poage. It was clear that all involved at the Poage, from our direct supervisors to one of the Representatives involved with the organization, care deeply for the students that come through the library.
I know all the technical skills that I have learned at Poage will be of great help to me as I search for jobs. Having the opportunity to learn small skills like mounting, hanging, installing, even correct measuring and leveling, at a place like Poage was helpful. I knew I was supported, and if I messed up, it would be okay. These skills are crucial to museum work, and I feel well prepared to enter the field now, knowing I had great training at the Poage! I will miss the library greatly and look forward to staying in touch via social media with all the awesome work I know the library will continue to do!