M.Jenn.Briggs

I spent the early part of my career in archaeological research before returning to school for an M.A. in History and a Certificate in Museum Studies.  Along the way, I added more intensive training in American material culture and museum collections management practices as well as a crash course in exhibition planning and coordination. Now, I am excited to take on new challenges towards interpretive and comprehensive museum planning.  I value working as a contributing member of a project team and believe that the best results emerge from a work environment that has interrelated and multi-disciplinary perspectives.

ABOUT ME

Object Cataloger

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (contracted through Corestaff Services), Washington, D.C. / July 2018 – present

The work we do as object catalogers is much more than recording object information in the database. We integrate information about the objects with the personal narratives of Holocaust survivors, contextualizing them with historical events. The tangibility of the object provides a relatable entry point to learn about the owner’s story, fulfilling the Museum’s mission of “preserving the memory of those who suffered.” Accomplishing this means that my work is multi-faceted. I create catalog records that include detailed physical descriptions and object histories, which are published to the museum’s public-facing, digital collections information search. I also conduct in-depth historical, biographical, and material culture research, and write biographies for individuals associated with each object. The catalog records I produce are then used by museum staff for research, presentations, programming, and public outreach.

Object Cataloging Numbers

714
Objects Reviewed & Documented
80
Biographies Researched & Written
1 year 8 months
Worked in the Office
1 year
Worked at Home During the Pandemic

Course Development Assistant

Connect For Education, Inc., Herndon, VA / February 2017 – present

• Compiling, copyediting, and proofreading content/media assets for 12+ web-based courses and textbooks for over 200 higher education clients • Track, organize, and provide quality assurance of manuscripts, documents, assets, and other production files • Management and maintenance of course content within multiple content and learning management systems, implementing style guides and modifying formatting using HTML and CSS • Communicate with internal team members and external clients for content feedback and approval

Graduate Assistant

History Media Center, University of Delaware, Newark, DE / September 2015 – May 2016

During my final year of graduate school, I worked part-time as the assistant to the Coordinator of the History Department\'s Media Center.  In addition to providing general technical support, I worked on a number of technology-related projects for the department and individual faculty members. For the first time, I designed promotional materials, coordinated interviews, and taped/edited presentation recordings. I also maintained and managed the department websites, and initiated/managed a project to revise and redesign one of the program websites.

The largest project I initiated was an equipment and media inventory. Implementing a barcode system, I consolidated and cataloged hundreds of cables, computers, videos, and DVDs, followed by a wholesale reorganization of the collection.

Exhibition Intern

Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library, Wilmington, DE / June – August 2015, January-February 2016

During the summer of 2015, I had the fortune of interning in the Exhibitions Department at the Winterthur Museum.  The primary project I took on was a redevelopment of a solitary display case called the “Bow Window.” This case is located in the museum’s reception foyer, and typically contains more light-hearted displays than other gallery spaces.  The current display, titled What Is That?!, was curated and installed by a student in 2011, and was long overdue for a change.  The case is roughly 5.5 feet long by 5 feet high, and the moderate size allowed me to go through the whole exhibition process from inception to installation in a reasonable time frame.  I obtained a detailed checklist of tasks that needed to be accomplished and took on a project management role.   My supervisor and I created a schedule, narrowed down a topic, and I refined the content and themes, selected objects from the Winterthur collection, consulted with the staff curators on object selection, consulted with conservation staff about the types of objects that could or could not be used in that particular case, and wrote label copy.

Alongside this primary project, I was allowed to shadow the other members of the exhibition team as they worked on other pending projects, and gained practical experience with tasks such as dry-mounting graphics and painting display cases, and learned a great deal about the various thought and decision processes that go into putting together a cohesive show.   In addition, I was able to join meetings with other departments and contribute to discussions about other upcoming exhibitions, which gave me a holistic view of the exhibitions process.  I found that many aspects of exhibition work appeal to me (particularly collaboration with other departments and institutions, project management, and graphic design), and I hope to continue down a similar track in my professional career.

Registration Graduate Assistant

WinterthurMuseum, Garden & Library, Wilmington, DE / September 2014 – May 2015

In my position as a graduate assistant in the Registration office at Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library, I broadened my skills and deepened my understanding of the proper care, handling, and organization of a large and diverse collection of American decorative arts.  I was responsible for inventory, numbering, labeling, photographing and completing condition reports for incoming object loans and acquisitions.  Additionally, I documented the period rooms prior to installations and de-installations.  I have also participated in guide training as well as art handling and object movement.

Archaeological Analyst

Monticello/Thomas Jefferson Foundation, Charlottesville, VA / May 2010 – July 2014

Archaeological Field Technician / March 2010 – April 2010

Archaeological Laboratory Teaching Assistant / June – July 2010-2014

As an Archaeological Analyst in the Monticello Department of Archaeology, I conducted a variety of tasks relating to the processing and analysis of excavated artifacts, including cleaning, labeling, and housing.  Working with the lab manager, I maintained, executed, and initiated organizational projects for an extensive collection.  Over the course of four and a half years, I cataloged 197,667 artifacts from 11 excavation projects.  I conducted and compiled background research on archaeological sites and objects using documentary sources, excavation reports, and other print and electronic resources.  As part of a re-analysis of excavations from the 1980s, I reconstructed archaeological evidence using incomplete and often contradictory excavation records and drawings.  I was also involved in assisting researcher inquiries, served as a laboratory teaching assistant for the UVa-Monticello Archaeological Field School, and supervised interns and volunteers.

At Monticello, I also helped to put together interpretive presentations and engaging activities for a variety of audiences, including donors, school groups, and the public.  I have also provided on-site interpretation and assisted with site tours of excavations and findings to the public.  Additionally, I assisted the Foundation President/CEO in guiding a select group of donors on a horseback tour of the plantation, where I was able to share information about location-specific archaeological projects and findings.

Collections Management Intern

Hagley Museum and Library, Wilmington, DE / July – August 2009

After completing my Bachelor's degree, I spent a summer at the Hagley Museum, where I acquired my first in-depth experience with a museum collection. I primarily worked on a diverse collection of early plastic and other celluloid objects, processing them through multiple phases of a survey project, including labeling, repackaging, photographing, filing paperwork, and database cataloging. Because plastics are an unstable and deteriorating material, I became adept at examining and handling the objects in a safe manner.

MA in History, Museum Studies Certificate

University of Delaware, 2016

At Delaware, I earned an MA in History with a certificate in Museum Studies.

Coursework:

Black Activism & Print Culture
The Early Republic
Grantsmanship & Proposal Writing
Historiography of Technology
Introduction to Decorative Arts in America (Winterthur)
Museums: History and Practice
Museum Internship
Museums and Modern Technology
Museum Studies: Strategic Planning
Research and Writing: America to 1860
Research and Writing: America, 1860-Present
United States Historiography
Writing the History of Empires

BA in Archaeology + Anthropology, Astronomy minor

University of Virginia, 2009

At Virginia, I earned a BA in Anthropology, a BA in Archaeology, and a minor in Astronomy. My coursework focused heavily on cultures around the world, and ancient/prehistoric archaeology. During the summer of 2008, I was a student in the UVa-Monticello Archaeological Field School, re-adjusting my focus to the historical archaeology of Virginia.

Selected Coursework:

Museums & Education
The Social Life of Goods
History, Museums, & Interpretations
Monticello Archaeological Field School
Anglo-Saxon History
Archaeology of the Andes
Archaeology of the Maya
Art and Architecture of Ancient Egypt
European Archaeology
Human Origins
Archaeo-astronomy
Life Beyond the Earth

EDUCATION