Musing on Chucalissa

Today was my last day at the C.H. Nash Museum at Chucalissa

Having spent the last year at the museum, I’ve had really strong feelings about leaving it.  I started as an intern last summer, ended up accepting a position as a graduate assistant there, then continued this summer after my graduation as a temporary employee.  As I prepare to leave Memphis for Murfreesboro and the PhD program, I’m leaving behind this great museum and taking with me so many awesome memories, great experiences, and incredible lessons.

After a year of hard work at the museum, I actually feel like I have accomplished something.  Some of you who work in museums may not often get to experience that feeling.  Chucalissa is definitely moving in the right directions under the supervision of Dr. Robert Connolly and

Rachael and I make a stop at Lambert's while on our museum field trip

Rachael South, and I feel like I was very lucky to be a part of those changes.

In addition to general daily museum operations, I spent most of my time at the museum working on educational programming using artifacts with no known provenience and working to improve our teacher information packets.   I definitely benefited from these experiences, and I like to think that the museum did as well.

There was also a fair amount of time spent promoting the museum with videos, such as the one about our musical instruments that Sam and I improvised on a cold, slow, January day, as well as the Relic Run documentary, and the video featuring Sonny Bell and the pow wow drum.  Now I’m just getting nostaligic!

Even though I did accomplish a lot in my time at Chucalissa, I can’t help but feel like there is still so much to do.  I hope to return to the museum to complete my PhD Residency, as soon as I finish my coursework at MTSU.  I left just an hour ago, and I already can’t wait to get back to the museum, the projects, and the people who work there!

I wouldn’t be anywhere near where I am now without the help of all of the employees, especially my professor/advisor/boss and the director of the museum, Dr. Connolly (insert shameless promotion of his blog here).  He has been a great mentor to me, and I look forward to working with him more in the future. Rachael,the administrative assistant, has also been an essential part of life the past year, and I would probably have lost my mind by now without her.

Not just wolves, but all manner of critters!

The day ended appropriately enough with Natalye buying me the obligatory Chucalissa wolf shirt (much appreciated!).

I also bought myself Nina Simon’s Participatory Museum, which I hope to read before classes start, and post more about here.

So long for now, Chucalissa, with your “hut”-less earthworks complex and NAGPRA compliant exhibits!  I’ll miss you, but I’ll be back to visit and see the improvements as they occur!

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