Name: Megan Oleksa
Where you studied: University of East Anglia
What you studied: MA Museology
Can you give your work title and what it is you actually do?
I am the Collections Manager for a small to mid-size museum in upstate New York. My work varies daily, but I am responsible for the care of the collection, inventory, incoming and outgoing loans, collections-related paperwork, database administration, writing grants, long-term collection planning and reorganization of the storage areas.
Were you always interested in this career?
I became interested in museums after my senior year art history class in high school. After that, I pursued a Business Administration degree with a minor in art history. During my undergraduate degree, I volunteered and did internships as much as I could in the arts field.
How has your postgraduate qualification helped your career?
Almost every position posted in this field requires an MA in Museum Studies or related field, so it was essential for getting into the job that I wanted.
What do you like most about your job?
I like the variety that the job provides and knowing that what I am doing will help preserve these objects and their history for years to come.
Are there any downsides to what you do?
Sometimes all of the record keeping can become tedious, but it is very important for preserving the history of an object.
What do you think are the most important skills/strengths you need to make a success of what you do?
Persistence with a slight tendency toward perfectionism. You must be very persistent just to get a job in the arts, sending out dozens of applications. In my day-to-day though, trying to make records as accurate as possible and showing utmost care with the objects requires somewhat of a perfectionist personality.
What would be your best piece of advice for graduates wishing to come into this sector?
Do as many volunteer jobs or internships as possible to figure out which area of the arts or museums you want to specialize in before starting graduate school. I had volunteer experience in fundraising, education, marketing, and registry, which helped me to decide to focus on collections management.