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From Museum Intern to Museum Educator: Alexandra David ’17

03/21/18

Alex DavidWith a passion for the arts for as long as she can remember, Alexandra David ’17 wanted a career that would allow her access to a variety of arts-related fields. At MCLA, “I fell in love with arts management because I got to experience all of the different parts of the arts, from museums to theater and to how to work with non-profit organizations,” she said.

Now a museum educator for the Tsongas Industrial History Museum at the Lowell National Historical Park in Lowell, Mass., David said the turning point in her education was an introduction to museum-based learning. “I realized, ‘Wow. I really like this!’ So, I decided to focus on museum education, and even served an internship at Kidspace in MASS MoCA.”

Following her Kidspace internship, David served another internship at the New Hampshire Children’s Museum, where she helped to run the STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) lab, and facilitated young visitors as they did STEAM-related activities.

A partnership between UMASS-Lowell and the National Park Service, the Tsongas Industrial History Center introduces visitors to the history of the Lowell mills, and the people who worked there. David educates youth about this history, which includes STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math)-based learning. She also leads tours and related hands-on activities.

“Students are here to learn about mill history, and to have a good time doing it. This means every program is meant to keep them moving and thinking, whether that’s through an activity or a walking tour,” David said. “It’s an opportunity for their teachers to either start their unit on the industrial revolution, or to end it with a engaging field trip, as their students make connections.” 

David said her professors “really prepared me for the field,” with the latest methods in arts management.

Now undergoing the training process at her new job, David feels she is ahead of the curve. “I’ve either already learned the basics or experienced some of the examples they provide. This surely has a lot to do with all of the internships and the outside class assignments that I was given.

“I had a pretty great experience at MCLA,” she continued. “I had wonderful professors. They weren’t just my professors, but also my advisors and internship contacts. They want me to make it in this field.”

Her educational experience, she said, was very well rounded, with classes that included “Writing in the Arts,” “Grants and Fundraising,” “Arts Marketing,” “Museum Studies,” and “Advanced Museum Studies.” Through these classes, she put together a gallery opening, learned how to target the right audience with the advertisements she created, and how to write grants, as well as her resume.

She “highly recommends” MCLA’s arts management program. “You have plenty of opportunities to try out different parts of the field, and to make great connections with important people. Were it not for the connection that we have with MASS MoCA and the great professors helping me to meet people and learn different things, I wouldn’t be as far as I am right now.”