Student recalls a unique breadth of experiences - Kendall College of Arts and Sciences

Student recalls a unique breadth of experiences

As part of the class of 2012, Courtney Taylor was one of the first graduates of the Museum Science and Management program.

Courtney TaylorTaylor recalls enjoying a unique breadth of experiences while in the Museum Science and Management program. Through an assistantship at the Gilcrease Museum, Taylor had the opportunity to work with publications, conservation, as well as exhibition design and set up. “I would run around and try to get all of the experiences I could,” says Taylor, “I wanted to be broadly prepared… I was able to take the three tracks offered by the MSM program and build my own that was more centered on contemporary art and theory. I think my graduate assistantship was the thing that most prepared me to work in the museum field.”

Taylor is currently working as Curator and Director of Public Programs at the Louisiana University Museum of Art. Current projects include creating a national traveling exhibition program, something that has been one of Taylor’s enduring interests since her time in the MSM program.

“Exhibitions have remained to be what I’m most excited about. I’m drawn to making meaning and telling stories. I love the puzzle of exhibitions and solving those problems through project management. You have to match the [exhibition] design with the meaning and how people are coming into it, and what they will take away from it, and then how all of that fits into the needs of your community.”

Taylor has some parting wisdom to share with students considering a career in museums. “Coursework is coursework, but if you aren’t matching that with real experience, you aren’t going to be ready. There are so many things you can’t learn if you’re not in the museum setting. Internships, volunteering, and just being there… When you develop these skills, people find ways to keep you around. Just getting your foot in the door is what leads to part time jobs, and then full-time jobs… It’s easy for students to get a tunnel vision on their coursework and lose sight of taking those professional opportunities. It’s important to balance both.”