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I work at the National Air and Space Museum with everything from toys to the Space Shuttle. I am in the Collections Division which means that I get to work directly with the artifacts in our collection every day. Right now my job is organizing the collections to move to our new storage area at the Udvar-Hazy Center near Dulles Airport. I work with a team (of mostly women) who clean, stabilize, and pack these unique artifacts for their journey.
The day I received my CDL (Commerical Driver’s License) was a great moment. Earning the CDL allowed me to drive NASM’s tractor trailer, which is the only way we can get our airplanes and spacecraft from the storage buildings in Suitland, MD to the new museum (Udvar-Hazy Center) or to wherever they need to go. I have driven over 12 superloads—loads that are wider than 12 feet. The widest load I ever drove was 32 feet wide—our Focke Wulf 190, a WWII German fighter aircraft. It was a lot of fun and I had a great team with me to make sure that the roads were clear and safe for this special delivery.
When I was in college in Pennsylvania I had an internship at a little historical society museum. The director of the museum gave me the opportunity to try as many different jobs related to the collection as I could—registration, curatorial work, exhibit design, and collections management. From the experience I gained at that internship I qualified for another, and then another, until I took a chance and decided to apply for an internship at my first big museum—the National Air and Space Museum. I say that I took a chance because I didn’t think that I would like being part of such a big organization, it was something I hadn’t tried before. Immediately after that internship I received my federal position here at the National Air and Space Museum.
I encourage anyone interested in a museum career to intern and volunteer wherever and whenever you can. The more varied experience you can get will make you that much more interesting to future employers. Also taking chances and trying new things can lead to something great—it did for me!