Friday, August 17, 2007

Go YMP West!

Just wanted to apologize to my fellow bloggers for my prolonged absence from this website. I've spent pretty much the past two months in the process of moving across the country (including two weeks driving from the East, through the South and Southwest, and finally up to the Northwest in a 16-foot truck with my significant other, with all my worldly possessions onboard...), and am now looking forward to being the Seattle voice of YMP. ;-)

And it's got me thinking, are there substantive geographical differences in all of our museum cultures out there? I could tell you a lot about being a museum educator in New York, in terms of what sort of qualifications and background people are looking for in a given position, what having a particular institution or school or job title on your resume might mean to someone, how my own experience and education compares to my peers, what might differ between different types of museums, what the climate and interactions are between museums, schools, government... But from the little I've heard and seen thus far of the museum community in my new home, I have a feeling the answers here might be different. Or maybe not.

Anyone out there experienced a shift in geography that required a corresponding shift in their conception of their career community? If so, is there anything -- aside from time and networking -- that helped you adjust to your new environment?

6 comments:

Lauren said...

Oooh! I have! When I moved to San Jose after I graduated from Bank Street. Everyone told me to intern to get my foot in the door, which made sense, but I was like, "Hello? I have a Master's degree and several years of experience teaching in classroom and museum settings!" But, what one does in New York stays in New York. To them, you are a new commodity who worked at places they may have heard of, but could care less about. In the end, they prefer locals. Unless you are an upper level person.

Dancer said...

I have as well, moving from Seattle to Richmond. Wow, culture shock. From a native, the people are nicer in Seattle. Also, it doesnt actually rain as much as we tell people, that just helps keeps the Californians out. ;) (This is Seattle humor, not an actual slam on the Californians, folks) If you can give a general location, I will give you a list of "Have to do's", from a native's POV.

I'm Robynne, history major, miltiary science minor, at VSU, and archivist. I found this blog on AAM's site, I hope to get to know some of you.

Josh said...

I am experiencing the geographic change right now. Not only is it differnt based on region it is also differnt City to City. I have worked in St. Louis, Southwest Idaho and now I am in Chicago. I am searching for a job and some days feel so lost. St. Louis is very conservative. Small town Idaho didnt get me(but Boise was great). Chicago Is just so big.

Courtney said...

Hello Lauren, Dancer, and Josh--
Thanks for your responses; it's nice to hear from other people who are/have been in the same boat.

Lauren, I'm a Bank Streeter myself. I've so far found the same thing to be true here in terms of preference for locals. Any further advice for folks in terms of surmounting that hurdle? Did you wind up sucking it up and interning? (I've kind of run my mouth off about that in a couple previous posts, so am hoping you found another way in that allowed you to make a living wage!)

Dancer/Robynne, welcome, and glad you found us. I'll try to find a way to contact you directly for some Seattle native advice (and connections, maybe?).

Josh, right there with you. Let us know when you find something, and how you did it! :-)

Elizabeth A said...

Hello everyone-

I am so glad to have found this site, and amazed that this latest post intersected so well with my situation. I'm also a native New Yorker, and I did art history in college and worked in museums throughout, but couldn't really figure out how to do museums and survive in New York. I started in law school (to try to go the art law/intellectual property route), but was miserable from day one.

I'm planning to move out to Seattle very soon with my boyfriend, and from just a quick trip there, it was so clear how much nicer the people are (not that New Yorkers aren't nice - they're just guarded. 8 million people, after all...), and was really wondering how the Seattle museum scene differed from the New York scene, so thanks for your posts. I definitely want to go back to museum administration since has made me so happy in the past, but at least now I can start to figure out what path I should take in order to start out there.

Thanks again, and good luck to everyone!
--Elizabeth

Courtney said...

Elizabeth, glad you found us too! My NY loyalty prevents me from saying that people are actually nicer out here, but I will agree with "less guarded." :-)

In all honesty my impression so far is that it's actually harder to survive out here -- if you're talking about making a living wage -- in museums, but cost of living is different enough from NY that I'm hoping that'll even out.

Elizabeth and Robynne, I haven't been able to funnel out contact info for either of you through blogger, but I'm eagerly in search of Seattle -- or former Seattle, or soon-to-be Seattle -- friends and advisors, so if you want to get in touch with me I'm at firstnamedotlastnameatgmaildotcom. (That's my way of trying to evade spammers -- you should be able to get my last name from my blogger profile.)