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Colleen Boken '19

By Colleen Boken '19

It’s been a bit of time since I stood in that Olin room with my fellow art history seniors, finding out that we had all passed our orals. Suffice to say my time within Whitman, and especially within art history was extremely life opening. I hadn’t actually planned to be an art history major when I arrived at Whitman, but with some gentle encouragement, I quickly realized that my dreams were destined to follow an art history track (with some history sprinkled in there as well).

I had the opportunity to learn in many different fashions within the program, from engaging courses that made me rethink Walla Walla, Los Angeles, the methodology of race within Art History, and Museums themselves, and into the work outside of classes. Working at Sheehan, and gaining that on-the-floor experience, and into the exhibition development experience that came about from the David Nord Award and the Adam West Exhibition at the Kirkman House Museum, I knew where I wanted to end up. A trip to New York with the department only confirmed it.

Colleen Boken '19

After spending a year as an AmeriCorps Member on the East Coast with New England Science and Sailing, I began applying to specifically museum studies/museology programs. The training and guidance I had received within the Art History Program at Whitman made me realize how much good work could be done within the Museum Industry, and how a liberal arts education could help bring change to an industry I had only just began to dip my toe in. I ultimately chose to attend the University of Washington Museology Program, in part due to the connection to the Pacific Northwest that had been fostered by Whitman AHVCS. I have also been working with the Greater Kent Historical Museum at the same time.

As I’ve been in this program, I realized that a lot of what I have been learning has been taught before by Whitman’s AHVCS program, and in so many ways I have thankful for the professional experience that the program brought me. Honestly, I feel like I have one of the stronger backgrounds in the program and have felt extremely well prepared for graduate school. I have yet to find a point where I did not find some reference to something that had been taught at within AHVCS. I would like to thank every one of the wonderful professors for the experience that they brought and note that I regularly acknowledge AHVCS as being defining in my career. My final thought is simply, without AHVCS I would not be as close to as successful as I have been, and for that I am forever grateful.

Published on Apr 19, 2021
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