I have 16 years of experience working in collections management and informal science education. My career is defined by my passion to advocate for developing partnerships with educators, researchers, collections managers and museum administration to bring museum collections to researchers, visitors and students of all ages. Currently I am a member of a collections management team that facilitates access to an extensive marine invertebrate and arachnid collection. I have worked to enhance over 30 temporary exhibitions through the use of hands-on teaching collections to deepen visitor experience and engagement. In addition to having experience with museum collections and programming, I have also held positions in museum conservation, archives and registration. These positions offered opportunities to gain a more expansive understanding of how museum collections departments work in unison to accomplish museum goals. I have helped to plan and deliver experiences and events of all sizes in an effort to build relationships with all community stakeholders and support access to non-traditional museum demographics.
I have a BA from Metropolitan State University of Denver (MSU). I knew I wanted a museum studies degree, but was disappointed in the limited scope of most programs, as they typically focused on exhibit design and collections care. I took matters into my own hands and designed my own state and board-approved degree. I even got to name it, Integrated Liberal Arts For Museum Studies. I was able to incorporate MSU and (through a pooled course system) undergraduate and graduate-level courses at the University of Colorado Denver in history, anthropology, historic preservation, grant writing, education, non-profit business administration, early childhood reading, special education, and gifted/talented education to complete my degree.
I have made the leap into contracting as a museum and corporate event planner and project manager. After a stint working with Marine Invertebrate and Arachnology Collections, I took a term position with the American Alliance of Museums (AAM) helping to plan their 2023 Annual Meeting in Denver. In January of 2023, I formed Copper Creek Partners (CCP) with a friend and colleague who has similar skills working with non-profits and various levels of government. AAM has again contracted my support for the 2024 Annual Meeting to be held in Baltimore. Prior to that, I was the Assistant Manager of Education Collections at the DMNS for 13 years.
Days in collections management work typically consist of cataloging, mount making, organizing storage spaces,
collections moves, volunteer management, specimen preparation, and data entry/clean-up. Over the years I have also held other roles in collections management (Health Science and Space Science), registration, archives, and conservation. I initially sought these additional roles to help my team and learn more about how other departments worked. These experiences made me a better teammate and a more productive employee. After a while, I earned a reputation as someone always willing to take on new challenges, help fill a gap or learn a new skill.
This willingness to learn led to opportunities to work with development, marketing, education, building operations, and exhibit departments in a variety of projects. I have developed emergency preparedness and integrated pest management plans, roles on planning teams for events like Girls & Science and Educator Nights, and represented the museum in media and donor relations; all while maintaining my collections manager duties.
Volunteer and Community Service
Many museum professionals found themselves laid off or furloughed in 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, myself included. During this time I discovered MuseumExpert.org. This new non-profit was born to help connect experts with institutions looking for permanent and temporary help. Additionally, MuseumExpert dives into professional development and field-wide topics to facilitate discussions and growth for the entire museum community. I have been honored to help this growing organization in partnerships, webinar planning, and management. Please find our 100% volunteer-run organization at MuseumExpert.org and donate here if you can!
It's easy to share what you love! Giving tours to groups large and small, spending the day at a school talking about museums and collections, or serving other museum professionals allows me to offer support for students and professionals and hear about all the amazing work being done in the field.
Douglas County School District, Colorado
Cherry Creek School District, Colorado
Conferences and Presentations
Many of the temporary exhibits I have supported required me to train volunteers on how to use collections safely as they engage with visitors. This could require me to speak to a group of 30 in a classroom or 200 in an auditorium.
Conferences are another way to share your learned experiences with others in your field. Learning from the success and struggles of others makes every museum better. I have presented at local and national/international conferences. My work with the American Alliance of Museums in support of the #Denver 2023 Annual Meeting allowed me to learn and grow from the other side of the conference experience. So eye opening!
Some of the presentations I am most proud of,
Girls & Science
Quick Disaster Response, DMNS Adds a Tool
Object Based Inquiry: Collections and Critical Thinking and Using artifacts in the Classroom (As Primary Sources)