Hey! Thanks for visiting this blog post. This one is near and dear to my heart since it's a part of A Girl In A Museum World's foundation. If you follow me on Instagram or if you're a part of the Museum Gang Newsletter, then you're aware that I graduated with my Master of Arts in Museum Studies from Morgan State University. My grad school journey has been...."interesting." I used that safe word because I was conflicted inside. I love history, museums, and all of that jazz, but working in the cultural heritage sector was an emotional roller coaster that I was not ready for.
As mentioned in my first blog post (sheds a tear, because this is my 44th posts), this sector lacks diversity and inclusion.👏🏾Museums, art, and history are not for elites only!! I needed to get that statement off my chest. I couldn’t find the right place to plug it, so I popped it there. Anyways, I had an idea of the lack of diversity due to the nature of the beast. But I'm not entirely sure I would have continued to pursue this dream of mine if I was fully aware of the the trauma involved. I also know that I wouldn't be happier doing anything else when I'm honest with myself.
Facing discrimination and racist tactics to keep me out of this field on top of pursuing my Master’s created a complicated relationship with my graduate experience. The fact that I was putting in so much work for a seat at a table that didn't want me or individuals that look like me sitting there was traumatic. I found myself asking, "Is it really worth it sis?"
On the other hand, I had moments of extreme pride. Bringing awareness to Morgan State's Museum Studies program always fills with me the most fulfillment. Folks automatically assume I attend/attended a PWI (predominantly white institution) whenever I mention my major or career. I love debunking this myth.👏🏾You do not need to attend a particular university to thrive in this field. Being an example of that is uplifting.
Now that I have a seat at the table, I don't want the seat. I want to serve the menu. To clarify, I want to create opportunities for BIPOC to have a welcoming seat at the table. My Master's has motivated me to go even further in the cultural heritage sector. I'm not sure exactly what that means or even how I'll begin to pursue that venture, but I'll know when I feel it. Yes, the field has slightly changed, but not enough. The day when BIPOC will not have to defend his/her seat at the table is when I’ll stop thinking about what’s next for me. Until then, I can not rest. I'm tired of the racist sh*t and I’m going to do more about it—that simple. My Master’s has motivated me more than I ever would have imagined. I’ve shared similar thoughts in other blog posts.
I've had a seat at the table before receiving my Master's, but officially declaring that I'm a Museum Girl with my degree has filled me with an array of emotions. At the end of the day,👏🏾it's a blessing to be able to complain about earning every degree I have. My thesis: Not Just an Object, But a Sacred Object: The Case of the Magdala 1868 Collection will be published soon! The journey to getting published was the most challenging venture in my academic career. It was also the most rewarding and motivating. I feel that I can conquer a dissertations next (no time soon tho).
I could go on and on about my experience and the pros and cons, but I'll just leave some pictures from the actual day. As Ice Cube said, “It was a good day.”
Can you feel my sense of relief in the photos?
Grad School is hard, but worth it!