OMA 2019 Student Scholarship Blog - Alexandria Fraley

The Ohio Museums Association is committed to connecting and empowering museum professionals at all stages of their career — including our student and emerging museum professionals!

For our 2019 OMA Annual Conference, OMA was very proud to offer students seeking careers in the museum field, scholarships to attend OMA 2019 in Akron.

Miss our first post? Learn more about the Scholarship series and read our previous entry here.

This week's post comes from Alexandria Fraley. Alexandria is a senior at Muskingum University in New Concord, Ohio and will graduate in December 2019 with a bachelor's degree in History. Currently, Alexandria is a tour guide at the John and Annie Glenn Museum in New Concord, and a previous intern in Collection and Exhibits for the Zanesville Museum of Art

The Lucky Historian

The Ohio Museum Association Conference was the first conference I attended and am happy that it was. The beginning was a little nerve racking, but everyone was welcoming and encouraged my participation on the tours. I have never been to the Akron Art Museum or the Stan Hywet Hall and Gardens. When we arrived at the art museum, I was happy to see some modern art. I had an internship with the Zanesville Museum of Art and it was fascinating to compare the sizes of both museums.

One of my favorite parts of the conference was visiting Stan Hywet Hall and Gardens. I have been told that this was a gorgeous home before coming and since I am interested in working in a house museum, this would be an enjoyable tour. The Hall was beautiful and nothing like I have seen before. It was also very nice to talk with Sean Joyce, the director of Stan Hywet Hall and Gardens. The house had so much history and was handsomely set up.

Another helpful part of the conference was the round table discussion.  This is where I learned the most. There were a handful of different table topics that we could attend, but I only went to one: “What do museums really look for when hiring? OR I have a museum degree… now what?” The OMA had a table for upcoming professionals to have one-on-one consultations.  Dr. Katherine Brown from Walsh University answered my numerous questions. Relating to my life goal, Dr. Brown suggested making my first-year post-graduation either working or volunteering to gain more experience. I was already planning this; however, it was nice to hear I was on the right path. Dr. Brown also supported studying for the GRE and researching the best fit for graduate school. Another item she mentioned was places to look for jobs and that grant writing workshops are crucial. The last topic she mentioned was to make an online portfolio on I talked with one of her Walsh University students after the session and they said that it is thorough and user-friendly. That was the most informational session out of the entire conference. OMA participants would talk with each other offering contact information, support, and goals. It was comforting to know that I was not alone in my struggles as a college student through hearing about other young professionals’ experiences.

The sessions throughout the day were well timed and educational. I am grateful for the OMA in granting me this opportunity to attend to their annual conference. It was a great experience to take that first step into the professional world and socialize with people who have been in my shoes with advice to give. After this conference, the one focal point I took home was to put myself out there and never give up on my dream.