It’s my pleasure today to introduce our third of five professional profiles in our Museum Moonlighters series. Maureen Bourbin was a classmate of mine in the Museum Studies department at San Francisco State University. Her wide range of experiences, in and out of the museum world, have given her a great perspective on the current issues in the EMP world.
Where are you currently working?
I am working in the publications department at the American Academy of Ophthalmology, where I help procure illustrative and photographic artwork for textbooks. While this job is not exactly a museum position, it does allow me to use some of my museums skills related to copyright issues and permissions.
What does your average week look like?
Right now, I am on the go seven days per week. I work fulltime at the Academy and also dedicate time to the Treasure Island Museum Association, where I participate as a Board Member. At the moment, the Board is focused on fundraising and redevelopment in hopes of opening a museum on the island. In the mean time, we have found ways to exhibit in the Bay Area. For instance, I curated a show titled The Magic City: Treasures from San Francisco’s Golden Gate International Exposition 1939-1940, which opened at the S.F. Main Library last month.
How do you make it work, and why is it worth it to you to “moonlight?” Do you think it helps your museum career to do so?
I make it all work by being super organized and driven. I love museum work so pursuing projects after my normal business hours is not a chore; it’s a pleasure. It is worth it to me because I want to stay involved in the field and keep my skills sharp and current.
What is your ideal job? What are your future plans and goals?
My ideal job would be to work as a curator or curatorial assistant in a local museum. I also have registrar experience and would enjoy a position in that department as well. I am always on the lookout for new projects and am even contemplating going back to school to earn a Ph.D. in art history to compliment my museum degree from San Francisco State.
What advice do you have for fellow EMPs just starting off in the museum field?
I would advise EMPs to do what they need to do to pay the bills while looking for their dream job. In the meantime, stay connected by volunteering at a museum. Be flexible and willing to take positions that you normally would not. Lastly, I would tell EMP’s not to get discouraged in this tough economy. We are all in the same boat.