Believe it or not, this is our fifth and final post in our “Museum Moonlighters” series. Today we have a profile from Stacey Fraser-deHaan, who currently works three museum jobs spanning two states, impressively managing to balance it all. As we conclude this series, I want to say a big thank you to all five of our EMPs that volunteered to share their stories and offer encouragement to others in the field. And a huge thank you again to our Guest Editor for the series, Mariko Chang, for the fantastic work she put into developing these posts.
If you have ideas for additional professional profile series, please feel free to get in touch through the comments or at email@example.com.
Name: Stacey Fraser-deHaan
Place of birth: Lexington, Massachusetts
Favorite museum: Scottish National War Memorial at Edinburgh Castle
Favorite food: I could never pick a favorite food – enjoy too many!
1) Where are you currently working, and what does your average week look like?
I currently maintain three positions: Program Coordinator at the Haverhill Historical Society/Buttonwoods Museum (Haverhill, MA), House Manager at the Wentworth Lear Historic Houses (Portsmouth, NH), and Museum Educator at the Ipswich Museum (Ipswich, MA).
On Monday & Wednesday, I work at Ipswich; Tuesday & Thursday at Haverhill; and Fridays (plus nights/weekends in the open season) for the Wentworth Lear Historic Houses. All three jobs share similarities and differences, so I really do not have an “average” week. However, my responsibilities tend to include some historical research and program development. For instance at Haverhill, we just received a foundation grant to conduct outreach programming at a senior center. This particular program includes having a local educator work with seniors on art projects such as collages.
2) How do you make it work, and is there ever any conflict in balancing multiple positions/responsibilities?
Most of the time, it is not too difficult balancing multiple positions. Occasionally, two museums will have an event on the same day and I will have to coordinate with staff or Board members as to which can spare me. Also, I try not to worry about the little things, like checking one museum’s email while working at another. The situation will likely be reversed the following day, so it all evens out in the end.
3) Why is it worth it to you to “moonlight?” Do you think it helps your museum career to do so?
Since I actually work 39-46 hours per week on museum work, I do not really consider what I do “moonlighting;” all of my work time is devoted to museums, even if it is not in a single institution. In terms of helping my career, I have found one aspect of moonlighting particularly beneficial—being a link among the three museums. The fact that I work in three organizations creates opportunities to communicate and collaborate.
4) What is your ideal job? What are your future plans and goals?
Eventually, I would like to transition to one full-time position in a small or medium-sized museum in Massachusetts or New Hampshire. I have a background in both education and collections, so I would be happy to work in either department. For the moment, I feel fortunate to be working in my current positions, so that I can keep an eye out for the “perfect” career move.
5) What advice do you have for fellow EMPs just starting off in the museum field?
Be flexible and pursue everything. I came out of grad school seeking a curatorial position, but when I saw how dismal the situation was in New England, I switched my focus to education. By so doing, I landed all three of my jobs within a year of graduation. Lastly, you may need to consider working outside the field. Just make sure to attend conferences and workshops to keep your hand in and maintain networking connections.