Katie Himics reflects on her experience as a museum educator at the Newark Museum, the birthplace of modern museum education theory.
What Great Minds Can Do: Anna Baccaglini ’17
"I don’t think I would’ve been able to (obtain an internship at The Met) without being in the Museum Professions program. The background this program gave me allowed me to know what museums are like before I ever even entered one."
Anna Baccaglini ’17, M.A. in Museum Professions Student
Anna Baccaglini ’17 certainly has a resume stacked with valuable internship experience. She started with an internship at the Montclair Art Museum, during which she earned an Outstanding Museum Volunteer Award. From there, she parlayed an internship at the Macculloch Hall Historical Museum into two further positions as a curatorial research assistant and a collections management assistant. She also interned at the prestigious New-York Historical Society, where she worked in the Department of Prints, Photographs, and Architectural Collections.
Then there’s the crown jewel — an internship with the Metropolitan Museum of Art. It’s a position that every art lover wants, yet very few obtain. So how did Baccaglini get it? If you ask her, she’ll tell you it’s all because of her time in the M.A. in Museum Professions program.
“I don’t think I would’ve been able to do it without being in the Museum Professions program,” Baccaglini said, who entered the program while still a University undergraduate through the College’s dual degree B.A. in Art History/M.A. in Museum Professions program. “The background this program gave me allowed me to know what museums are like before I ever even entered one.”
Baccaglini appreciated the fact that the program requires its students to obtain an internship at some point in their studies. She said the requirement is beneficial because it allows students to think about where they want to work from the start. And once they obtain a position, she pointed out that it will help narrow their areas of professional interest. For instance, her own internship with the Montclair Art Museum — though enjoyable — showed her that museum development was not a good fit for her.
Upon deciding what aspect of museum work they are most passionate about pursuing, students can prepare for their future through coursework in one of four specialized tracks — Museum Education, Museum Management, Museum Registration, and Exhibition Development. This is another appeal of the program, Baccaglini found, because it ensures that students receive an educational experience tailored to their own interests.
But they’re not missing out on anything, either.
“While most of your classes are in your track, you do space to take electives that allow you to experience other areas in the field,” Baccaglini said. “I think that’s really important. You get an idea of not just your concentration, but the museum field in general.”
When it came time to select her own track, Baccaglini chose Museum Registration because of her interest in cultural preservation. And she does not regret her decision, explaining that the courses she takes are highly interesting and filled with meaningful discussions. Plus, she said her professors have all been incredible.
“They’re really knowledgeable about the field,” Baccaglini said. “Even though we are in a classroom setting, they make (the subject matter) very applicable to the real world. I feel like I can transfer what I am learning to what I would be doing in my job.”
Looking ahead, Baccaglini would like to work in a museum as soon as possible after graduating, preferably one with a section on medieval art. However, she first embarked on the program’s seminar abroad trip to Amsterdam this summer, which was the latest in a long line of such excursions.
Whatever she does, Baccaglini knows one thing for sure — her time in the M.A. in Museum Professions program will have prepared her for it.
This profile was written by Sean Quinn, a Graduate Assistant for Graduate Studies within the College of Communication and the Arts and an M.A. in Public Relations student.
- Registration Intern, Metropolitan Museum of Art
- Collections Management and Curatorial Research Intern, New-York Historical Society
- Collections Management Assistant, Curatorial Research Assistant, and Archives Intern, Macculloch Hall Historical Museum
- Development Intern, Montclair Art Museum
- Outstanding Museum Volunteer Award, Montclair Art Museum
- Departmental Honors Citation in Art History, Seton Hall University