The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Museum director offers degree advice

By Mathew Shaw/reporter

SE students interested in careers in art history received advice from a museum director Nov. 1.

Brian Lee Whisenhunt, executive director of the Museum of the Southwest in Midland, advised students interested in working in a museum to pursue an advanced degree.

“It’s kind of expected that if you’re going to work in a museum, you’re going to have a master’s degree,” he said.

Whisenhunt received his master’s in art history from the University of Oklahoma.

Museum workers could be educators, curators, collection managers, registrars, art installers and conservators, Whisenhunt said.

“It’s a business,” he said.

Whisenhunt emphasized the importance of seeking out internships with museums, especially ones with projects.

“You want to do something in an internship that you can put on a resume,” he said.

Whisenhunt’s first internship allowed him to put together an exhibition.

SE student Stephanie Corria, who plans to major in art history and archaeology, said she wanted an internship that was more hands-on.

“I have friends who said they got internships and only filed papers,” she said. “But now I know that you can look for something more specific.”

Kristina Elizondo, SE art instructor, said students also should find good references to write them letters of recommendation.

“Never underestimate the power of a really good recommendation letter,” she said.

Whisenhunt said he looks for applicants with relatable experience in areas such as customer service and stocking.

“If you can frame your past experience in a way that is applicable to the job, that’s a heads-up,” he said.

Besides working in museums, people with art history degrees teach or work in galleries, for-profit businesses, art transportation or private industries, which Whisenhunt said is where a lot of people with art history degrees get their start. 

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