Victor Bailey
Hall Center for the Humanities

Hall Center offers practical insights on careers in 'applied humanities'

Wed, 02/26/2014

LAWRENCE – Leaders from the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, the National World War I Museum at Liberty Memorial, the Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and Museum, the Kansas Humanities Council, the Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum, the National Archives, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Mid-America Arts Alliance and the Kansas Historical Society headline a series of three presentations on obtaining careers in “applied humanities” at the Hall Center on Thursday afternoons in March.

Offering practical advice on how graduate students in the humanities and social sciences can apply their intellectual interests and scholarly skill sets to pursue productive and satisfying careers outside the university, the series is being organized by Henry Fortunato (g’07), this year’s Simons Fellow in Public Humanities at the Hall Center and director of public affairs at the Kansas City (Mo.) Public Library.

“People with graduate degrees in the humanities are ideal candidates for an enticing range of positions in museums, archives, foundations, public and digital history undertakings, arts organizations and entrepreneurial ventures,” says Fortunato. “We’ve brought together senior executives with MAs and PhDs in the humanities plus younger up-and-comers not that far removed from graduate school for two panel discussions and a master class designed to help grad students crack the code for getting non-academic jobs.”

PURSUING CAREERS IN APPLIED HUMANITIES: Putting your humanities degree to work outside the university is organized as follows:

Session I

Why pursue a career in applied humanities?

Thursday, March 6

Panelists will sketch out the terrain of the public humanities, including types of positions available, possible career paths and job satisfaction. Offering practical advice and personal anecdotes, panelists will demonstrate why choosing to work in the public humanities is anything but a Plan B.

Panelists include:

  • Matt Naylor, president/CEO, National World War I Museum
  • Clay Bauske, museum curator, Harry S. Truman Library
  • Dee Harris, exhibits specialist, National Archives at Kansas City
  • Eli Paul, manager, Missouri Valley Special Collection, Kansas City Public Library
  • Jason Roe, digital content manager, Civil War on the Western Border website
  • Aimee Larrabee, documentary filmmaker, Inland Sea Productions
  • Steve Nowak, director, Watkins Museum of History
  • Jean Svadlenak, museum consultant

Session II

Panel discussion: How to pursue a career in applied humanities 

Thursday, March 13

Reframing how a humanities degree works to include the public humanities can be a complex process for graduate students trained only in the ways of academia. Panelists for this session will discuss the process of obtaining a public humanities position from beginning to end. They will detail what, exactly, employers are looking for; how to find positions that fit your skills; how you can repackage your skills for non-academic jobs; and what to expect in the job hunting process.

Panelists include:

  • Mary Madden, senior executive, Kansas Historical Society
  • Tim Rives, deputy director, Eisenhower Presidential Library
  • Harlan Brownlee, president & CEO, Arts KC
  • Lucinda Adams, archivist, Kansas City Public Library
  • Angela Elam, KCUR host, "New Letters on the Air:
  • Ann Birney, historical re-enactor, Ride Into History

Session III

Master class: What to do to obtain a career in applied humanities 

Thursday, March 27

"What to Do to Obtain a Career in Applied Humanities"

This panel will get into the nuts-and-bolts process of transitioning skills and ideas from an academic to a public framework. Resumes, cover letters and interviews are crucial, and they will be a primary focus of this panel. After a question-and-answer session about the practical experience of applying for--and getting--a job, panelists will be available to conduct quick mock interviews.

Panelists include:

Julián Zugazugoitia, director & CEO, Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art
Perry Collins, grants officer, National Endowment for the Humanities
Alex Burden, executive director, Truman Library Institute
Mary McMurray, White House Decision Center, Truman Library
Julie Mulvihill, director, Kansas Humanities Council
Lori Cox-Paul, Archival Operations, National Archives at Kansas City
Kelly Seward, business programs director, ARTS KC
Ann Prochnow, president, Julia Farr Collection
Mary Kennedy, Mid-America Arts Alliance

All programs take place at the Hall Center, 900 Sunnyside Ave., and begin at 3:30 p.m. Wine and cheese receptions with opportunities to talk one-on-one with speakers begin at 5 p.m. For more information and to RSVP, visit

For more information, contact the Hall Center by email or call (785) 864-4798.

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