Kelsey Cameron (2019)
In 2019 I was in my third year at the University of Alberta studying anthropology and history, hoping to eventually work in the museum industry, so I was searching for summer jobs at museums close to Edmonton. With this being my goal, working at the Millet Museum was very beneficial for me as it allowed me to learn skills that will continue to be useful throughout my career such as setting up exhibits and planning programs. I also learned various communication skills by giving tours and working at the visitor information desk.
I can honestly say the majority of my experiences at the museum were positive and memorable. The main experience that stands out to me is the Pioneer Women exhibit, as this was such a big part of my job and also the main part of it that helped me develop more museum-related skills. As for funny memories, the main one that sticks out was when we needed to bring an old curling rock upstairs. It was so heavy that there was no way we were going to be able to carry it up, so Peyton sat on the stair chair and we brought it upstairs on her lap.
Student funding was critical for me to be able to find a job in my field, as most museums are only able to hire their summer staff with this funding. Without student funding, so many students would not be able to find summer jobs to help them gain experience in their field. The heritage sector is a place where this is especially necessary, as many small museums are non-for-profit, and without the funding they would have no way to pay any employees, which is why volunteering is also so important. Volunteers are essential to museums and other areas of the heritage sector, and the Millet Museum volunteers are no exception. They are so passionate about history and the museum and they helped make my experience in Millet so enjoyable. I have also volunteered during my time at the university in various areas including a campus museum and with the archaeological collection.
In the past year, I have had two big accomplishments in my life. In October, my boyfriend and I were able to put a down payment on a condo in Edmonton (mainly thanks to my summer job at the museum) and we are now living on our own with our little dog, Peanut. I have also finished my undergraduate degree and have officially graduated from University!
My advice to students planning on working over the summer is to not give up on the search and, when you have the job, remember to make time for friends and fun. Before I got the job in Millet, I had applied for over 15 jobs and had interviews for 4 other positions. Finding a summer job, especially one in your specific field, is going to be difficult, but you have to keep searching and never give up. Once you do end up with your summer job, it is easy to get so caught up in the work, but just remember to take your mind away from it at the end of the day and have a good time with your friends and family.