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WCMA Blog

Become a Museum Associate

If you’ve taken art history 101 & 102 at Williams and enjoy working with kids, I’m asking you to consider dedicating some of your time each week to WCMA’s Museum Associates program. This program builds an incredibly positive relationship to the local and greater Berkshire community and provides a crucial educational resource.
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We all know what defines the genius loci here, what makes Williams special is the people. “The people” here includes you. Supported by an incredibly experienced and organized education department, you can be an incredible resource for local students. I should point out this is neither primarily nor exclusively a program for Arts majors. Your interest in literature, Roman antiquity, fashion, or athletics can come in at any time in your conversations with these kids, as you are working to serve the arts education needs of schools in Massachusetts, Vermont, and New York.

In an economic climate where arts education programs are often among the first cut or not funded in the first place, your service is a big deal. I’m a little spoiled, being from the D.C. area where free museum resources are prolific. Before I knew who Caravaggio or what impasto was, I still had the experience and privilege of looking. However, for many schools our museum program provides their students with a primary source of arts education in a museum context. You can help in providing this.

BrianaThomas_Class of 2012_MApost_x345However, just as you have a lot to give, you have much to gain. Your involvement as a museum associate tunes you in to the high caliber programming at WCMA. You will learn about the exhibitions, and perhaps also have the chance to meet important educators, curators, and artists. In my time at Williams, I’ve also worked in the Office of Career Counseling, aiming to help my peers pursue their interests and professional goals. From that experience, I can tell you being a Museum Associate will equip you with skills that will come in handy for virtually any job or internship. You’ll gain great experience working with kids and engaging with publics. You will hone your public speaking and interpersonal skills. Working with the other associates on your tour will teach you teamwork—the balance between taking charge and the deferring to your fellow associates. Working with children is a constant exercise of thinking on your feet, challenging your creativity and improvisation and a great chance to step into the shoes of a 3rd grader.

Lastly, for those of you who might be interested in a career in the art world, in joining Williams’ strong tradition in producing leadership in this field, this is a great introduction to the many facets of the museum apparatus and the people who drive its success. You would be hard-pressed to find a college museum more receptive to student ideas, feedback, and to making something of your drive to get things done. The best part is you’ll be doing a whole lot of good along the way.

 

William Su
Williams Class of 2012

 

Above photos by Kim Hugo:
Museum Associates William Su ’12 leading a tour and Briana Thomas ’12 working with a student on his art project.

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