Jessica Bekesi was ready to hit the ground running after graduating from the Cultural Heritage Conservation and Management program in June 2017. The following month, Jessica started her position at Red Lake Regional Heritage Centre as Preventive Conservation Intern through Young Canada Works.
“The Cultural Heritage Conservation and Management program was instrumental in my getting this internship. Without it, I wouldn’t have the education or experience to be equipped for this position,” said Jessica. “The Fleming program is highly respected in the field of conservation in Canada and I feel it definitely had an impact on my application. In fact, one of my co-workers at the Heritage Centre is a fellow Fleming graduate from the ‘sister program,’ Museum Management and Curatorship.”
As Preventive Conservation Intern, Jessica analyzes environmental and storage conditions, and conservation policies to recommend changes to improve artifact care; she is instituting new guidelines for conservation standards and a new condition reporting system; and she is reorganizing parts of the storage area, helping to introduce an integrated pest management system, re-houses artifacts, and creates new mounts and enclosures when needed.
“My career is set on the foundation of knowledge I gained at Fleming College”
“Almost all of the tools and skills I need and use on a daily basis at my internship I developed at Fleming College,” said Jessica. “I learnt proper artifact photography in my class Technology Applications, environmental monitoring and pest identification in Reducing Risks to Collections, specific artifact needs I learnt in abundance in the numerous History of Technology and Lab Techniques classes. […] My career is set on the foundation of knowledge I gained at Fleming College.”
Jessica decided to take Fleming’s Cultural Heritage Conservation and Management program after earning her Bachelor’s degree in History and Art History (Honours) at Queen’s University. She wanted to gain hands-on experience in treating museum artifacts and Fleming College’s program seemed like the perfect fit for her goals.
“I loved my time at Fleming College,” said Jessica, who developed close relationships with her peers and professors due to the program’s small class size. “All of our teachers were so obviously passionate about their work and all had experience within the field– most of who are still actively working in museum conservation. Feeling how much the instructor’s cared about the class and the information was infectious and such a pleasure to be a part of.”
She added, “I was amazed at the equipment available to me in the labs and feel so lucky to have been able to learn with these tools.”
The Fleming College graduate said she would recommend this program to aspiring conservators because it helped her develop a deeper passion for her career. And for students currently in this program, she recommends networking, asking questions, and putting in as much time as possible into work and labs. She also recommends using the library, explaining, “the resources there are amazing and catered so well to this field like nowhere else I’ve seen. Conservation books can be few and far between and very expensive, so having the library was a huge asset.”