From Peterborough, Ontario to TVO, Kevin D’Innocenzo shares his career journey with Museum Management and Curatorship students

kevin-dinnocenzoWhen Kevin D’Innocenzo gave a passionate presentation on “Bringing Back Heritage Minutes” to his Museum Management and Curatorship peers six years ago, little did he know that not only would more Heritage Minutes air, but that Kevin himself would earn a job at TVO.

TVO is a provincial television station that airs educational programming. At their Toronto-based office, Kevin works diligently as the Media Researcher/Archivist.

“The best thing about my job is getting to represent the diversity of Ontario through media and having the opportunity to influence Ontarians across the province,” said Kevin. “It’s humbling to have that responsibility.”

Kevin’s responsibilities include clearing copyright for all media used in television programs, documentaries and organizational initiatives, including audio, video, images, and literary works; interpreting Canadian copyright legislation; archiving new media that TVO films and produces, and more.

“Did my Fleming education prepare me for my job? Absolutely,” said Kevin, who graduated from the Museum Management and Curatorship program in 2012. “My responsibility during the exhibit in MMC was to research, negotiate and license the exhibition we put on at Peterborough City Hall. It’s called ‘We Were There: Stories of Peterborough in Times of Conflict’ and it’s still there– we got to do a permanent exhibition.”

After earning his Bachelor of Arts in History at Trent University in 2007, Kevin travelled the world, and taught and developed English curriculum in South Korea. “After spending several years overseas, I realized my affection for ethnographic studies. Paired with my lifelong love for museums, it was a natural choice for me to pursue dreams of working in the field of cultural heritage,” said Kevin.

From 2012 to 2013, Kevin served as an E-Volunteer at the Royal Ontario Museum and then was hired as a Project Assistant on contract at the Ontario Museum Association for a year. In 2014, Kevin was hired as an Exhibitions Consultant at Lord Cultural Resources, the world’s largest cultural professional practice that plans and designs services in the museum, cultural and heritage sector.

In July 2017, Kevin was ready for a change and took a job at TVO in the archives. “Seeing my name on the credits of The Agenda with Steve Paikin for the first time, I was like, ‘mom, take a picture!’” he laughed.

Kevin recently returned to his old stomping grounds at the Fleming Annex, Peterborough Museum & Archives, to speak with current Museum Management and Curatorship students about his career path and college experience, as well as to share advice.

Kevin’s tips to current students are:

  • Focus your interests and build experience around them
  • Be enthusiastic
  • Network
  • Understand what you want to get out of a job
  • Volunteer
  • Don’t be afraid to fail and learn from it!
  • If you’re not a good writer, become one
  • Be tenacious

Kevin said he recommends this Fleming graduate certificate program because it prepares students for the real world.

“There’s a theoretical component of the program, but what sets it apart is the applied learning, which I was able to take with me and use to this day.”

From childhood museum visits to CEO of Western Development Museum, Joan Kanigan has a lifelong passion for heritage

joan-kanigan-editJoan Kanigan, Chief Executive Officer of the Western Development Museum, has always had a passion for museums and heritage. Some of her earliest memories are of visiting museums in Regina with her family, learning about the world around her and what life was like in the past.

“Museums are places of connection and not only was I connecting with my family, I was developing a broader understanding of the world and our place in it,” said Joan.

She grew up to earn a Master of Arts degree at Trent University followed by a graduate certificate in Museum Management and Curatorship at Fleming College.

“What I enjoyed most was that almost all of our classes were held in the Peterborough Museum & Archives,” said Joan about her Fleming College experience.

“Everything we were taught was complemented with actual experience,” she said. “For example, instead of just talking about how to design exhibits, we got to create an exhibit for the museum– right from conception to opening it to the public. The hands-on experience, which is part of the program, was very valuable.”

Joan, who graduated from Fleming College in 1995, said she recommends this program because it is an excellent introduction to all facets of museology.

“What I appreciated most about the program was the practical skills that we learnt in addition to the theoretical background. It’s one thing to talk about how to do something and another to have the opportunity to learn by doing.”

22 years after graduating from Fleming College, Joan is now CEO of the Western Development Museum, which has four museum branches throughout Saskatchewan. Joan is responsible for providing strategic leadership and management in the areas of financial, risk and facilities management; board administration and support; fundraising; program and service delivery; people leadership and community relations.

Recently she amalgamated the collections, conservation, and research departments into a single curatorial department, which is a change Joan is proud to have implemented.  “The excitement the staff involved in this change are bringing to the process is incredibly rewarding,” she said. “It is amazing to see how much creativity and passion has been unleashed by bringing these departments together. Everyone is working more collaboratively and there is a real sense of purpose being shown by everyone in the department.”

Her advice to current students is to never stop learning. “Since graduating, I have continually worked to develop new skills and gain a greater understanding of governance, leadership and management,” said Joan.

“The skills and knowledge you gain through formal education is just the beginning,” she added. “I have been working for non-profits and museums for over 20 years and there is still so much more learning and development I can do to better serve my organization and our communities.”

#AllAccessPass: Fleming College grad brings Whyte Museum to social media

meghan-walshWhile many may view the museum world as artifacts behind glass, hushed tones and closed doors, Meghan Walsh hopes to change that.

The Museum Management and Curatorship graduate, Class of 2016, is the Digital Content Coordinator at the Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies in Banff, Alberta. In her newly created role within the Marketing Department, Meghan manages the Museum’s Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Blogger pages, creating engaging content for events, exhibitions and services.

“Social media has a huge impact on the museum world,” said Meghan. “It’s opened up not only the reach of museums in regards to marketing and advertising for events and services, but it’s opened up the possibility of access to the amazing collections that museums have.”

Meghan added that this online space for interaction has proved beneficial, saying, “We’ve had many people contact us through social media, providing us with information about an archival photo we posted that we can then add to our database records. The potential is truly endless.”

The Fleming College graduate said her favourite part of the job is exploring behind-the-scenes at the Whyte Museum.

“We’ve experimented with two Facebook Live video sessions, giving people behind-the-scenes tours of exhibits as they are installed and afterwards,” said Meghan. “I was also lucky enough to accompany our Curatorial Assistant on a tour of the collections facility with a group of immigrant women from all over the world participating in a writing workshop called the Shoe Project. Seeing the women’s reactions to some of the artifacts, eager to learn more about the stories behind them, was fantastic to see.”

Although this is Meghan’s first time working in the Marketing Department, it is not her first time working at the Whyte Museum. The Museum Management and Curatorship grad completed her Fleming College program internship there, gaining experience in the Heritage/Art Department and the Archives/Library Department.

“The staff were amazing and really mentored me– not only in the technical skills that I needed to do my job, but also in the career skills needed to succeed in my future career,” she said.

After graduating from Fleming College, Meghan worked as the Curatorial Assistant for the City of Greater Sudbury Museums on a one-year contract and then took a six-month contract at the Whyte Museum, where she worked as the Collections Management Coordinator for the Alpine Club of Canada Library Collection. From there, she stayed on at the Whyte Museum in the new Digital Content Coordinator position.

“The Museum Management and Curatorship program at Fleming definitely prepared me for my current position,” said Meghan. “The simple fact that I had the chance to learn about social media in museums first-hand through the Education and Public Programming course of the MMC program gave me great experience. It was also basically what initially planted the seed in my brain about the potential behind social media in museums.’

‘Also, the experience that I gained in the MMC program in regards to all the different departments of a museum gave me an advantage because Marketing and Communications does deal with every department and it’s important to have a basic understanding of how they function and what their purpose is,” she said.

‘Everything is Awesome’ for Valedictorian Kaitlin Crow

kaitlin-crow-blogKaitlin Crow’s theme song for her time at Fleming College is “Everything is Awesome” from The Lego Movie.

“In the Museum Management and Curatorship program, there was a lot of group work,” said Kaitlin, who is graduating from the program next week at convocation. “A running joke in our class was when the instructor came around to ask how everything was going, we would sing back the ‘Everything is Awesome’ song. It worked, ‘Everything is cool when you’re part of a team.’”

Kaitlin describes her experience at Fleming as intense and rewarding. “This program was incredible in providing me with a wide array of skills that are extremely beneficial in the museum field,” said Kaitlin, who learned how to budget, apply for grants and run financials, and properly care for objects, among other skills.

She recommends the Museum Management and Curatorship program to anyone interested in the heritage sector because it provides hands-on experience and is taught by instructors who are experts in the field.

Kaitlin came to Fleming College after earning her undergraduate degree at Trent University. “I had heard through my university that Fleming had the best museum management program in Ontario,” she said. “I was already in love with the Peterborough community and this program allowed me to stay involved while pursuing a career in the heritage sector.”

Now that she is done classes, Kaitlin is working as the Educational Coordinator at Backus-Page House Museum. She will be returning to campus next week for convocation on Tuesday, June 6, where she will serve as Valedictorian at the 10 a.m. ceremony.

“I want my fellow graduates to remember to never stop learning on a day-to-day, whether it is through a conversation with a peer or if it means going back to school,” said Kaitlin. “Learning is what life is about.”

Bridging the gap between theory and practice, Cayla Morency takes Museum Management and Curatorship

Cayla Morency/ Photo Credit: Tina Kyriakakis
Cayla Morency/ Photo Credit: Tina Kyriakakis

Cayla Morency wanted to bridge the gap between the research and writing skills she developed in university with the practical world of museums and heritage organizations. That is why she decided to enroll in Fleming College’s Museum Management and Curatorship graduate certificate.

“Put simply, I had heard that Fleming’s Museum Management and Curatorship program was the best,” said Cayla, who has a Bachelor of Arts in History from the University of Ottawa and Master of Arts in History from the University of Windsor.

She was intrigued by the program’s partnership with the Peterborough Museum & Archives and, after seven years of post-secondary education, the condensed nature of the program was attractive. “It turned out to be the best way to spend a year!” said Cayla, who is graduating from Fleming College this summer.

Cayla describes her Fleming College experience as fantastic and that Museum Management and Curatorship instructors – who have real industry experience – are excellent. Through group projects, including a temporary exhibit installed at the Peterborough Museum & Archives, Cayla developed teamwork skills and gained the hands-on experience she needed.

“The final exhibition, applied projects at local heritage institutions, and the curriculum-based internship provided the opportunity to put into practice the skills we had learned throughout the program,” said Cayla. “I owe a great deal to my instructors at Fleming and to my internship supervisor, Jennifer Nicoll at the Agnes Etherington Art Centre at Queen’s University, for the knowledge and skills I learned that helped me gain employment at the National Gallery of Canada.”

Before officially graduating from Fleming College, Cayla is already employed. She is now the Exhibitions Officer and Collections Management Assistant at the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa.

“I have had the unique opportunity to see the gallery preparing for the unveiling of the Canadian and Indigenous Galleries later this year,” said Cayla. “I was fortunate enough to see many iconic works from Canadian and Indigenous artists up close, as they were in storage in the months leading up to the new exhibition.”

Cayla’s tasks at the National Gallery of Canada focus on using the gallery’s database, MIMSY XG, to assist with tracking the location and exhibition of works in the gallery’s permanent collection, and those loaned for exhibitions; assisting Exhibition Managers with drafting letters and loan agreements to lending institutions, entering data related to loaned works of art, and more.

“The skills, applied projects, and internship experience in gallery and museum administration, artefact handling, database usage, and collections management were instrumental in the competition for the internship and current position I hold at the National Gallery of Canada,” said Cayla. “The Museum Management and Curatorship program provides emerging museum professionals the chance to develop skills in an intensive one-year program with constant opportunities to put theory into practice.”

Her advice to current Museum Management and Curatorship students is to volunteer and seek professional development opportunities. “The National Gallery of Canada offers paid 12-week internships in educational programming for art museums and collections management, sometimes several per year,” said Cayla. “These are great opportunities to build skills and gain experience in a museum setting.”

From a Cantonese Opera prop to a Peruvian spear, Kaitlin Chamberlain’s workday is always interesting

chamberlain-textile-takedown-2Kaitlin Chamberlain, who is graduating from Fleming’s Museum Management and Curatorship program this year, does not have a boring workday.

“One moment I’m pulling a Cantonese Opera prop and the next I’m trying to find a home for a Peruvian spear. It’s always an adventure when I’m in there,” said Kaitlin, who works for the University of British Columbia’s (UBC) Museum of Anthropology.

“I’m incredibly interested in the museum’s collection. Other collections I’ve worked with have focused on the region the museum is located in or on a specific medium, but the collection here is worldwide and I’m constantly amazed by what I find in storage,” she said.

As the Collections Assistant in the Collections Care, Management and Access Department, Kaitlin is responsible for organizing and facilitating visits to the collection and maintaining object storage. She installs and rehouses objects, creates mounts and performs inventories, and assists the Collections Manager, Loans Manager and Research Technician on their projects.

“A lot of the job responsibilities are things I was taught at Fleming and had a chance to actually do,” said Kaitlin. “When asked in the interview whether I had the experience, I was always able to answer with a quick example from my time at Fleming in addition to work experiences.”

Kaitlin said her Fleming applied learning in textile mounting came in handy this week, when the Collections department had to de-install the Layers of Influence exhibit, which is made up entirely of textiles. Kaitlin will be re-rolling the textiles and re-installing them into their home locations over the next few weeks, so she is grateful for the lesson and practical assignment she completed at Fleming.

Kaitlin came to Fleming College after earning her Honours Bachelor of Arts degree in History and Archaeology from Wilfrid Laurier University and working one summer at the City of Waterloo Museum.

“Aside from the Fleming program being highly recommended, I wanted to balance out my resume,” she said. “I had gotten a university degree where I learned about theory and the history of collections/museums, and I wanted to compliment it with hands-on experience.”

She said her experience in this Fleming College program was intense, fast-paced and rewarding, and that her faculty and peers were very supportive. She added that the work itself is also very rewarding and that she is already recommending Fleming’s Museum Management and Curatorship program to others.

“I would recommend it for the same reason I decided to take it, it gives you the hands-on experience within a museum setting,” she said. “The program’s partnership with the Peterborough Museum & Archives is brilliant.”

And to those currently in the program, Kaitlin’s advice is to apply to jobs regardless of the experience they want or location. “The process can be disheartening in the beginning because you feel like you’re sending resumes off into the void, but you never know what doors will open,” she said. “I certainly didn’t expect to hear back from a museum on the opposite side of the country.”

Museum Management and Curatorship grad makes news headlines for donation request

img_0216-high-resWhen Fleming College graduate Allison Burnett posted a call for donations for Shelburne County Museum on local community Facebook pages, she never expected to make news headlines. But perhaps that’s because the donations Allison is collecting are for women’s underwear and lingerie from the years 1860 to 1960.

The donations are for Underneath it All – 100 Years of Underwear and Lingerie in North America, 1860 – 1960, an exhibit that will be displayed from June to September at Shelburne County Museum in Nova Scotia. The exhibit was created by the Missouri History Museum and includes interpretive panels with text and pictures, but not artifacts. Allison, who is the Curator at Shelburne County Museum, wanted to add real garments to the exhibit for her upcoming display.

Allison put posters up around town, posted to Facebook groups and pages, and shared information on the local radio station asking people for garment donations from this time period. Quickly, she received a response from news organizations. Since her call for donations, Allison has been interviewed by Halifax radio station “The Rick Howe Show” on 95.7, the BBC, and the CBC.

“I was very surprised when I got an email from the CBC about the exhibit. At that time, I had only put a poster in a Shelburne Facebook group– it turns out that the people at CBC skim small town Facebook groups for news!” she said. “And after I was interviewed by CBC on the radio and for an online article, the other news outlets picked up the story. I thought it was nice that people found the story so interesting.”

Woman’s camisole

Allison said she has received offers from people interested in donating or loaning items, but she is still sorting through the Shelburne County Museum collection to decide what items she will need to borrow from the community, so she has yet to accept any offers.

In the process of curating this exhibit, Allison said she has learned some interesting historical facts. “One thing I wasn’t aware of before is that the billowy shorts-shaped undergarments women used to wear under dresses were actually known as ‘drawers,’” she said. “And until the end of the 1800s, they were generally two separate legs attached at the waist.”

Allison believes the 100-year time span was chosen by the exhibit creators because it demonstrates a broad range of evolving fashion trends and social movements. “Women’s fashions – and, because of that, their underwear – evolved constantly and drastically throughout the century in question,” she said. “And this was closely linked in interesting ways to changing roles for women in society.”

Allison is a graduate of Fleming’s Museum Management and Curatorship program, Class of 2014. She said the skills she gained at Fleming are applicable to her role at Shelburne County Museum, adding, “Because I work at a small museum I do a bit of everything, and almost all of what I do is work I learned about in the program.”

Allison came to Fleming after earning her master’s degree in History. She wanted to gain practical skills to work in museums and wanted to complete a program fast to get into the work world.

“I found the faculty very approachable and helpful, and the class content and applied projects were very applicable to the work that goes on in the field, and left me feeling confident in my abilities in the workplace,” said Allison. “I would definitely recommend the MMC program at Fleming.”

Samantha Chianta’s Museum Management and Curatorship education takes her to the Hockey Hall of Fame

Samantha Chianta’s Fleming College education has taken her all the way to the Hockey Hall of Fame! Samantha, who graduated from Museum Management and Curatorship in 2012, currently works as the Collections Registrar at D.K. (Doc) Seaman Hockey Resource Centre, a division of the Hockey Hall of Fame.
samantha-chianta“Working as the Collections Registrar, I get to see a lot of cool hockey history while accessioning the artifacts. I also get to participate in fun events like our Induction celebration, which happens every year,” said Samantha. “But as a huge hockey fan, I have to say getting to polish the Stanley Cup before it left for the Stanley Cup Final was one of my favourite experiences!”

Samantha credits her Fleming College education for her career, as she completed her field placement at the Hockey Hall of Fame and was later hired to work there. Samantha said Fleming fully prepared her to document artifacts properly and formulate condition reports.

“Not only has the program helped me, but I’ve been able to pass along my knowledge of current archival techniques to the curators at the Hockey Hall of Fame,” she said. “I contribute my success in large part to the wonderful staff running the program and the hands-on training they provided.”

Samantha said she came to Fleming College after earning her bachelor’s degree from York University, with a major in History and minor in Anthropology. She said a professor at York introduced her to the Fleming graduate certificate program, as Samantha expressed an interest in working in the museum field.

“I decided to choose Fleming because it was an intensive and fast-paced program, but most of all it was an immersion experience that provided practical training for all careers in the museum sector,” said Samantha. “It was very hands-on and that was definitely what drew me in most of all.”

She describes her Fleming College experience as amazing and highly recommends the Museum Management and Curatorship program.

“I thoroughly enjoyed my experience at Fleming College,” said Samantha. “Not only was I prepared with practical, hands-on training, and knowledge of best practices and techniques, but I made many friends and many memories while in the program!”

City of Greater Sudbury Museum’s Curatorial Assistant said Fleming prepared her for the ‘real world’

Meghan WalshMeghan Walsh took the Museum Management and Curatorship program, interned at the Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies, and is now working as the Curatorial Assistant for the City of Greater Sudbury Museums. Here is Meghan’s Fleming story:

“Before coming to Fleming College, I attended Trent University in the Bachelor of Arts Honours program of Anthropological Archaeology. After my studies at Trent, which provided me with a sound basis in research and a taste of hands-on learning, I knew I wanted to take those research skills and put them towards developing new ways of engaging people with history. Given my passion for working with objects, it simply made sense to explore the world of museums!

My experience at Fleming was one of the most valuable, challenging and fun experiences of my adult life. In terms of course work, we flew through one applied project after another, acquiring new skills, meeting new challenges, and dealing with situations exactly like those that we could expect to find in our future museum careers. My internship at the Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies in Banff, Alberta, was an experience of a lifetime. Having the opportunity to work in both the Heritage Collections and Archives, I gained experience working with a large variety of materials; from art pieces to artifacts, and photographs to film strips. All of these experiences and projects were integral in preparing me for my current job as a Curatorial Assistant.

As Curatorial Assistant for the City of Greater Sudbury Museums, I take on a vast array of duties including (and certainly not limited to): collections management, curatorial research, programming, policy writing, strategic planning, volunteer coordination, clerical work and marketing. Much of my day-to-day has involved researching local history for a number of different projects, including two new exhibits that we are curating for two of the museums we manage: The Anderson Farm Museum and the Rayside-Balfour Museum. I also take on the responsibility of managing our social media platforms, which is a lot of fun to think up new ways to engage audiences online. All in all, working for the City of Greater Sudbury Museums has provided me with a view into all the different pieces that have to come together to make a museum function.

The Museum Management and Curatorship program definitely prepared me for my job. I almost feel like I am back at Fleming because it is so fast-paced with multiple projects all going on at the same time. I’m also working and collaborating with different people all over the city, which was similar to our final exhibit project in the MMC program, during which I was a Project Manager. My experience here at the Greater Sudbury Museums has really made me realize how well our teachers in the MMC program prepared us for the “real world” of museum work. The fact that we actually got to do a good portion of our course work in a real museum (the Peterborough Museum & Archives) was an invaluable experience for us as emerging museum professionals. I think that really speaks to the experience of our teachers and that they want to see us succeed– they challenged us and gave us the tools we needed to succeed in our field.”

Fleming grad curates ‘My Story, My Tattoo’ photo exhibit

Amy DunlopAmy Dunlop, Museum Management and Curatorship graduate (Class of 2003), currently works as the Curatorial Assistant at the Wellington County Museum and Archives. Amy served as the Curator and Project Manager of the “My Story, My Tattoo” photo exhibit, which featured 30 amazing stories of people and their tattoos.

“Tattoos are living images that reveal important stories behind our residents and our community. It is our job in the museum field to tell stories behind the objects and images in our community– and that is why it was a perfect fit,” said Amy, who interviewed people from the north to the south end of the county in 2014 for the exhibit.

“The participants represented every walk of life– everyone from cancer survivors, to teachers and their students, to firefighters and truck drivers, and tattoo artists,” she said, adding that participants ranged in age from 26 to 90 years old. Chris Piccinetti, graphic designer for the County of Wellington and photographer, photographed the selected participants in the museum.

Amy’s responsibilities for the exhibit include gathering material, overseeing the creation of the product, exhibit layout and design, assisting in media relations and advertising, and event planning. “It is nice to see it all come together. The opening was a very rewarding and memorable moment in the process,” said Amy.

She added that some of the skills she uses today were gained at Fleming College. “A curator should be thinking 3-dimensionally: about your audience, collections, programming, visitors’ experiences, media and your stockholders. Fleming prepares you to multitask and be able to understand all areas of how a museum operates,” she said.