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Museum Colleague Shoutouts for 2023

Category: Alliance Blog
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Last month we asked readers of our Field Notes newsletter to share their shoutouts for outstanding museum colleagues in honor of the new year. Here were some of the responses they shared:

“Sarah Curran, Museum of Discovery and Science’s Early Childhood Education Manager. She is always ahead of planning and keeps her team on positivity and growth. Sarah has worked hard and diligently to grow the Early Childhood department where early childhood visitors have more than doubled. She is just incredible and binds relationships with many members and new guests.”

– Aruna Ragbir

“The Curator of Anthropology at the Arizona Museum of Natural History, Dr. Emily Early, has done exceptional work in her many years here. In 2022, she secured several hundred thousand dollars in grants for our institution to collaborate and consult with local tribes in the renovation of our Southwest Cultures gallery. Dr. Early has been fundamental in increasing positive relationships with the Four Southern Tribes here in Arizona and has dedicated her career to decolonization. I’m honored to have her as a mentor!”

– Samantha Bomkamp

“We have an absolutely amazing team of 5 engineers [at the USS Hornet Sea, Air & Space Museum]. The work they do is incredible, especially during the rainy season in California. They’ve been keeping leaks and the rain at bay, keeping our ship open to the public and our staff dry! Without them, we wouldn’t have been able to put on our amazing New Year’s Eve Gala. They’re rockstars!”

– Eli Beutel
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“[Iowa Jewish Historical Society Director] Sandi Yoder successfully manages multiple tasks, multiple personnel (board, staff and volunteers), multiple grants, and remains calm under what I consider trying circumstances. Her memory and attention to detail amaze me! … Sandi’s diplomacy and dedication to maintaining productive, collaborative relationships is beyond anything I’ve ever witnessed in my 15 years in the museum field and 17 years as a librarian.”

– Susan Jellinger

“Christie Cain, Anthropology Collections Manager at the CU Museum of Natural History. She deserves a shout out to the field as she just received the Chancellor’s Employee of the Year Award for the University of Colorado at Boulder. And beyond that, she is a tremendous colleague, student mentor and fun person to work with.”

– James S. Hakala

“Wendy Harris, Britannia Mine Museum’s People and Culture Manager. Wendy is an experienced HR leader who is does a great job of sharing resources with her team (including Field Notes articles!). Since joining us in 2022, she has done a stupendous job of recruiting, onboarding, and retaining staff at a time when a competitive job market, high fuel prices and rising cost of living have made it challenging to operate a staff-heavy historic site. Her professionalism, wisdom, and embodiment of the Mine Museum’s mission, vision, and values set a great example for employees. Thanks for being a superstar, Wendy!”

– The Britannia Mine Museum Team

“Barbara Oehlschlaeger-Garvey! She’s been involved in Champaign County museums and local public history since the early 90s, including her service the last 10 years as Director of the Museum and Education Dept for the Champaign County Forest Preserve District (includes the oversight of the Museum of the Grand Prairie and Homer Lake Interpretive Center). After her long career, Barb will be retiring in early February. A true champion of local history in central Illinois!”

– Pat Cain
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“Lisa Soller of the Lyon County History Center in Emporia, KS. She does the work of 6 staff positions we don’t have. Everything she does is as good as it can be and she does all of this with enthusiasm, passion, and professionalism.”

– J. Greg Jordan

“Susan Randolph has been the fearless leader of the Marshall Steam Museum & Friends of Auburn Heights for THIRTEEN years! The ways she continues to innovate, reinvigorate, and have endless creativity will always be an inspiration to me. We had a great year of numbers and ‘wins’ and it shows from her leadership.”

– Alli Schell

“Kristen Hoskins, who single-handedly (i.e. with no support staff) resurrected the public programs offerings at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, post-COVID.”

– Herbert S Jones

“Cindy Snyder at the New Castle Court House Museum for conducting her own original Hollywood history programs, coordinating programming for Chautauqua and William Penn Day, managing our site through the 2022 year of improvements with the fire suppression system install and bathroom remodel!”

– Antoinette Maccari-Klingsberg

“Our Ops Team Mazie Clark, Zach Talbert, and crew for quickly moving our collection pieces last week when our pipes burst!”

– Erin Clark

“Dean Young at the International Quilt Museum in Lincoln, Nebraska! Dean is Operations Manager and so much more! He keeps the museum running smoothly from the gift shop to the catering kitchen to the office! His expertise and enthusiasm abound!”

– Sheila Green

“Lauren Robinson Marty! She started just days before COVID hit and closed Bakersfield Museum of Art for 379 days. Since reopening, she’s constantly thinking of new and creative ways to promote the museum and engage with our visitors. I’m so grateful for her professionalism, positive attitude, and dedication to our institution.”

– Amy Smith

“National Mining Hall of Fame and Museum bounced back from COVID with an awesome Hall of Fame Induction Banquet, an awesome exhibit about Women in Mining by curator Jordan Bennett, a complete change of POS by gift shop manager Teresa Frederick, an overhaul of accounting practices with Kirstin Ayers, and a super busy summer season handled by great seasonal staff. I’m the director, so I am very grateful for these remarkable achievements this year.”

– Elizabeth Di

Check out our Facebook thread for even more tributes!

Want to shout out a colleague of your own? Leave a comment on this post, or better yet, nominate them for a feature in our “Museum Professionals: In Their Own Words” series!

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