No Longer Classy

November 30, 2011 at 2:06 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , )

Well, that’s it.  I have officially completed my certificate in Museum Studies through Northwestern University!  I won’t be getting the actual certificate in the mail for a few weeks yet and since there’s no ceremony or parade to honor this momentous occasion, a delivery from the mailperson will have to do.

Yay Me!

Not going to lie, I’m a tad bit proud of myself.  Going back to school (even for a continuing studies certificate program) is something I’ve wanted to do pretty much since I graduated undergrad and while it wasn’t always easy or financially responsible, I totally made it happen.  These courses led to my docent position at the Field and introduced me to a great new friend that I’m glad to have.  I learned quite a bit about things I’d never even thought to think about before and I’m really glad I did it.  Now, what will I do with my free time on Tuesday evenings?  Well, I’d like to say I’ll take that time to relax and take it easy but in reality I’ll probably find something else to occupy myself.  In fact, I’m “supposed” to be joining a gym with the boyfriend.  Though to be honest the thought of having an entire night to come home after work, veg out on the couch and crash early is awfully appealing.  I feel as though I haven’t been paying enough attention to my poor couch and it’s about time to rectify that.  Not tonight (food pantry) or tomorrow (visit with a friend after work then house cleaning for my upcoming guests) or this weekend (Mom and Sissy will be in town!) or Monday (Christmas shopping) but maybe…Tuesday?  Hey look at that, it might happen after all!

Anyway, my final class and final presentation went well, despite the fact that I have a cold and was a walking, sniveling, snotty, coughing mess too doped up on cold medicine to really care if I spoke in coherent sentences or not.  By saying it went well, what I really mean is I finished it without falling over and people half-hardheartedly clapped at the end.  Whatever, I’ll take what I can get, especially since it means I’m officially finished!

Your invite to my graduation party is in the mail but feel free to preemptively send a congratulatory check.

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This Post Brought to You by the Letter ‘A’

March 16, 2011 at 11:51 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , )

…because that’s the grade I earned in my Northwestern class!

Where's my cookie for a job well done?

Our private tour of the Shedd Aquarium last night was pretty awesome and I got to see behind the scenes of their new exhibit, to be unveiled next month (hint: it will be super cool).  My professor emailed today with our grades and I earned 100/100 – and apparently, I was “an absolute pleasure to have in class”.  Not bad for my first official course in four years.

Now I have a three-week break before Round Two and since the weather is finally warming up chances are I won’t have to trudge 2 miles in the snow (no, not uphill but close enough) to get to class.  Unless it decides to snow in May, which I wouldn’t necessarily rule out here.  Still, I’m pretty pumped about my grade and glad a little bit of this course is behind me.  Now who wants to buy this smarty pants a drink?

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Class, Here I come!

December 21, 2010 at 1:47 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , )

Well, it’s official – I am enrolled for the Winter Session in Northwestern’s School of Continuing Studies.  This was my Christmas present to myself and there’s no going back now (they have my money).  This is very exciting for me as getting a certificate in Museum Studies is something I’ve been wanting to do for quite some while (though in my dream world I’d be going to get my Masters…but hey, I do what I can do) and I’m glad I finally navigated their website and got myself registered.  I kept encountering issues with the site but today all was cleared up and I have an official schedule. Sure, it’s just one night a week but that’s pretty much all my hectic schedule will allow these days.

I guess this is a mascot?

This is the first of three 10-week courses I’ll be taking in order to obtain my professional certificate.  Granted, this is the one class that sounds the least interesting to me (marketing and management…technically up my alley but not what I would want to do within the confines of a museum) but I guess it’s good to go ahead and get it out of the way.  I’ve actually already been in contact with the professor and it doesn’t seem too bad.  She has over 15 years experience at the Shedd Aquarium so I’m sure I’ll be able to learn a thing or two from her!ok

This museum stuff is seriously cool business.  I’ve been orienting myself to the docent position at the Field Museum over the last month or so and will continue to do that for quite a while (and I promise, one day I’ll post a big old huge blog about it).  I took some out-of-towner friends there this past weekend and gladly spent 5 hours giving them a general highlights tour (which I’m sure they found slightly obnoxious but hey, they didn’t tell me to quit).  I’ve been having more dates with the museum than I have with actual people and to be honest, that’s okay with me.  And now I get to go back to school to learn more!  This course won’t be too assignment-heavy but I am excited to get back in a classroom for more than two days.

Do I need a backpack?  New clothes?  Someone to take a photo of me as I walk through the door on the night of January 4th?  At least I have a few weeks to figure it out…

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Back to School

August 31, 2010 at 1:01 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , )

Look Ma!

I got to revert back to being a student last weekend, and even though it was only for two days, it was pretty awesome.

This is a description of the class I took:

And here's the building I took it in

This two-day course presents an in-depth study of the components that make a successful museum exhibition, whether permanent or temporary.  Topics covered will include:  concept, research, conversation, publications, design, lighting, budget, loans, advertising, sponsorship, education and visitor satisfaction.  Speakers representing a range of specialists in the field will provide commentary.  This course may be taken as a supplement to Northwestern University’s Museum Studies Certificate Program or as a stand-alone experience for museum professionals and those who are interested in furthering their knowledge of the exhibit process.

Yes, it was awesome.  It was even more awesome because it was on the downtown campus and so not only did I get to miss out on a day of work but I got to eat my lunch right by the lake as I tried to figure out if I know anyone who will take me out on a boat.

Anyway, classes Friday started with a bang.  Our class consisted of about 10 other ladies and myself; most of the others had some sort of profession dealing with museums, while a few were like me and hoping to go that route.  I was by far the youngest but they were all really nice and didn’t throw me out because I was born in a different decade.  Our first

Nice, huh?

speaker was probably my favorite, as it was a woman who works on temporary exhibits at The Field Museum.  She spoke for a while and I was completely captivated.  She pretty much has my dream job and I’ve been working on an email to her to ask for further advise.  After the lecture, we took a walk and toured The McCormick Bridgehouse and Chicago River Museum.  Don’t know what that is?  Yeah, neither did we (and it worked to highlight a point about getting your museum’s name out to the public).  I actually walked right by it about four times before figuring out how to get in.

The Bridgehouse Museum is located at the corner of Michigan Avenue and Wacker Drive, so thousands (if not more) of people walk by it every day.  You have to enter via the Riverwalk so it’s kind of tucked away, but for $4 a ticket it’s more than worth it.  The museum starts below ground and you can walk out and see all of the massive gears that raise the Chicago River bridge, which is pretty nifty.  The history of the Chicago River is told on the next few floors and by the time you get to the top you’re treated to a pretty sweet view.

After our field trip, we worked on a project designing the floor plan and layout of a local history museum and then we listened to our professor lecture a bit more.  She put together a whole exhibit on Victorian dresses for the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC a few years ago so we were treated to the ins and outs of that, and we also heard about the problems and issues she faced while putting it all together.  On Saturday we had a few more guest speakers and they talked about everything from funding an exhibit to the different kinds of lighting options available.  We watched a few short videos and had a group discussion on the importance of being honest in an exhibit as well as what the main purpose of museums should be and what exactly they owe to the public.

I enjoyed it all.

I’m also seriously considering taking three 10-week courses to get a certificate in Museum Studies.  Unfortunately, I don’t think my work schedule will allow me to do this (they pitch a fit when I try to leave five minutes early so I can catch the express train which saves me 40 minutes on my commute).  In fact, I just got a written reprimand for going 15 minutes over on my last pay period, because I was dealing with clients one day and unable to get away for a full hour lunch.  Did I mention I wouldn’t mind finding another job?  One that allows me to actually work downtown and get to a once a week course in time to take it?  That would be nice.

One day, ladies and gents…one day.


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School is Cool

April 30, 2010 at 11:06 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , )

I’m bouncing out of work a little early today which means I don’t have my usual lunch hour in which to write.  So this might be a bit short but it’s better than nothing at all!

Big News of the Day: I’m going back to school!!  If you’ve read this blog enough, you know I have a bit of an obsession with The Field Museum.  As in, I would sacrifice my right ovary to work there.  I’d be happy in the gift shop but ultimately would like to do something that would enable me to use my Anthropology degree a bit more.  I would love love love to go to graduate school but that’s not a financial feasibility at this point, so I looked into some Continuing Studies courses through Northwestern.  There’s a program that will allow me to get a certificate in Museum Studies and I will likely try to begin that in the fall.  There’s also a two-day class called The Exhibit: from Concept to Opening and Beyond.  It teaches all about the research, funding, design, implementation and execution of museum exhibits.  I think it sounds awesome, and I just enrolled for the course later this summer!

At the risk of sounding like an uber-dork, I’ve really missed learning in a classroom environment.  The woman teaching this course was the curator at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York for six years and has worked in museums all over America and Britain.  Perhaps she’ll decide to take me under her wing and help me find a position at a museum in the city…or maybe she’ll just be a great teacher and I’ll learn a lot.  Either way, I’m more than pumped!

Other things:  My grandma is still doing well, which is awesome.  I resigned the lease on my apartment for one more year and even got my landlord to agree to put a ceiling fan in my living room.  Score!  I haven’t had a ceiling fan since I lived at home and I’ve missed that free-flowing air – now I’ll have it, and right in time for summer.  Also, I’m heading out of town this afternoon to visit some long-lost friends in the college town of my alma mater.  Ok, they’re not really long-lost, but it’s been almost half a year since I’ve been down that way and it’s about time.  Here’s looking forward to another great weekend – hope yours is good as well!

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