Tana Redman’s love for art history fueled her passions in museum studies, and allowed her to use both of these skills in her current job as Curator at the Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum in Mansfield, Missouri.
Receiving a BA in Art History with a minor in Museum studies in 2016, Tana was a dedicated student in the Art + Design Department. “I am a proud Bear,” Tana exclaims, “I absolutely loved my time at Missouri State.”
As an undergraduate, while interning at the Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum, Tana was offered the position of Collections Technician. She was later promoted to Collections Manager, and promoted again to Curator last summer. Though, Tana does a lot more than curating for the museum. “Typically larger museums would have separate staff members for say, the curator, archivist, and registrar,” explains Tana, “Here, I am all of those, and more.” She even works in areas such as museum education and outreach.
Her day-in-the-life varies expansively, seeing as she’s usually working on multiple projects at once. “There is always work to be done in one of the historic homes, the museum gallery, or in my office,” shares Tana, “I am not confined to the same scenery. […] I like the versatility of my position here.” Tana’s biggest project this year involves a documentary set to air on PBS in December, she’s been working alongside the research team. The much-loved Little House on the Prairie series, written by Laura Ingalls Wilder, has quite the reach; last year the museum had visitors from 49 states and 38 countries.
As for students looking to work in museum studies, Tana says, “Do it! There are plenty of positions available all over the world. It’s a very versatile field that will test your creativity at times.” She recommends volunteering at museums and applying for internships. “You wouldn’t believe the number of times these turn into jobs,” encourages Tana, “Experience is very important in the field.” Tana offers all students, no matter what area of study, additional, encouraging advice. “Stick with it,” Tana assures, “[And] talk to professors; they are there to help you.”
Majors and minors don’t necessarily define your trajectory following college, but they can aid you in discovering how to combine your interests, like Tana. “There is no right way to do college, as long as you are working on a degree,” she shares.