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Why I'm choosing a career in the museum world

Posted on January 6, 2020 at 10:30 AM by Betsy Grabinski

By Sarah Bartlett, ISU Senior and Pohlman Fellow


I have always had a love for museums. Some of my most vivid childhood memories were times spent at various museums with my family; they were always a staple in our vacations. In a museum, you get to stand in history instead of just reading about it in a book. You can look at a Renoir painting and see each and every brush stroke. You are able to experience art and history in a way that textbooks and classrooms will never be able to replicate.


I want nothing more than to spend the rest of my life in museums. I have yet to find a task that makes me want to choose a different field; not even spending an entire semester doing condition reports on the Museums' massive ceramics collection, which was one of the projects I had as an intern last year.


I am excited for the variety of responsibilities I have as part of the Pohlman Fellowship. I especially love the detective aspect of my work that comes up when I need to find a number for an object in TMS (the database system used by University Museums). I also love getting to pick objects to show to classes and hope that they feel as powerfully moved over the history as I did upon discovery.


After graduation at Iowa State I plan to pursue a master's degree in Forensic Anthropology or Osteology with a graduate minor in Museum Studies. Then I hope to pursue a PhD in Classical Archaeology.


Above: Museums' Educator Lilah Anderson (top) hands a gallery light to Sarah Bartlett (bottom), Pohlman Fellow, during the recent deinstallation of the Susan Chrysler White Exhibition at the Christian Petersen Art Museum.

Sarah Bartlett is a senior at Iowa State, working on a BS in Anthropology and Classical Studies and a BA in Political Science. She was selected last spring as the first student for the Lynette Pohlman Museum Fellowship, a scholarship established through the estate of Lori A. Jacobson.  As part of her fellowship, Bartlett has been working closely  with University Museums Director and Chief Curator Lynette Pohlman on the upcoming Contemplate Japan Exhibition at the Brunnier Art Museum (opening January 15, 2020). She will also be writing a monthly feature for This Week at University Museums.

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