by James Peth (MA, 2014)
Here at the Neville Public Museum we have one permanent and three temporary galleries. Our staff is currently working on Estamos Aqui: Celebrating Latino Identity in Northeastern Wisconsin. This exhibit will be up for one year and seeks to connect the residents of Brown County and Northeastern Wisconsin with the emerging and diverse Latino communities that have settled here. The exhibit is being developed collaboratively with a committee of dedicated members of the community and the staff at Casa Alba Melanie – Hispanic Resource Center. My role during this process has been to help identify, measure, and photograph artifacts from within our own collection as well as from Casa Alba. I also help with monitoring the exhibit budget by organizing all purchases made for the exhibit including props, AV, and lumber. As a staff we are currently finalizing the label copy, which will be bi-lingual in English and Spanish. I am also assisting our Education Coordinator in the development and promotion of tours and programming. Our exhibit technician is currently building walls, cases and mounts for the exhibit. In April, I will be a part of the exhibit team that de-installs the previous exhibit and then installs Estamos Aqui.
Aside from working on Estamos Aqui, I have been able to work on other very cool projects. I recently helped facilitate an after-hours program called “Guns and Gowns”. The program allowed visitors to view artifacts from our collection that are rarely displayed. To prepare for the program, I assisted our Collections Manager in assembling and dressing the mannequins and preparing the guns. Along with preparing for the program, I was also able to participate and oversee the station about WWII. This station paired a Christian Dior dress with a MP-40 sub-machine gun used by a local veteran at the Battle of the Bulge. I am also working on an Ornithology display for the museum’s lobby.
The Neville Public Museum has a small staff of 12 which gives me the awesome opportunity to work on many different projects and utilize everything I have learned within the program. As the Research Technician, a regular part of my job is helping researchers and businesses navigate our extensive photograph collection for publications. This includes answering research requests, finding and preparing photographs, and writing agreements in regards to copyright and usage rights. My position also supports or Education Coordinator. I regularly help lead tours and help develop programs. This past week, I helped organize one of our digital learning programs in which we host a Google Hangout with different schools in the community. We connected with over 250 elementary students within the area. We were able to show them artifacts from our collection related to the Revolutionary War. The hangout will happen again in March and will have an emphasis on Women’s History and artifacts from our collection.
I am very appreciative of everything the University of San Francisco Museum Studies program has provided me. It has given me the knowledge and experience base within the museum field that allows me to be confident and grow within my position at the Neville Public Museum and the museum community. To see more of what the staff at the Neville Public Museum is working on, you can follow us on both Instagram and Snapchat.
For more information on the University of San Francisco’s Museum Studies program, click here.