The MuseLab provides a space for students, faculty, and community to work together creatively. As with many museum spaces, innovation and collaboration are key to producing exhibitions that shape the way we learn and inspire each other. This semester, the MuseLab has had the opportunity to work with two Kent State students, Jessica Fijalkovich and Alex Tharnish; Jessica as an MLIS student volunteer and Alex as an undergraduate student assistant. From different majors and backgrounds; they each hold a unique perspective that adds character and diversity to the space. Let’s meet them!
Our new lab assistant, Alex Tharnish, has been helping put some finishing touches on our latest exhibit, Mona Lisa x4, which opened September 15. Alex is a senior in the Visual Communication Design (VCD) program with a minor in fine art and photo illustration. He has been learning how a museum space functions as well as how it can be used for educational and research purposes. His role here includes maintenance of the space and research on current and future exhibitions. Through this opportunity, he is learning the skills necessary to design, install, operate, and de-install exhibitions. Alex also works for the KSU School of Art Galleries and Collection as a gallery assistant, which also teaches him exhibition skills. He hopes to use the knowledge gained here at the lab with his skills as a designer and apply them toward a career in the field of interactive design.
"My job in the lab has given me an understanding of how viewers interpret information when they step into an exhibit. In my program, we normally focus on two-dimensional work and how people interpret that content visually. So when the same content can be displayed three-dimensionally within a physical space, there comes an interactive element that utilizes the other senses and provides an all-encompassing experience. It’s been a fascinating transition into learning about how these spaces function. Through my work a both the MuseLab and the School of Art Galleries, I’ve gained insight into how museum and gallery spaces can change the way we experience information an creativity.”
Jessica Fijalkovich, a volunteer in the MuseLab, is a School of Library and Information Science student, specializing in museum studies. Jessica has been creating a reliable inventory of MuseLab props that she will enter into a cataloging program to help us manage our supplies and equipment. Through this process, she is gaining valuable knowledge, experience, and confidence that she can use toward a career working in museums. She is also helping to design our small exhibit cases scattered throughout the library. In her work life, Jessica is a teacher to English Language Learners and also works for the Cleveland Museum of Art as a Street Team Member. She hopes to merge her skills as an ESL teacher with knowledge acquired through her course of study into a career as a Museum Educator. In her free time, Jessica performs research for and curates a website dedicated to feminist art.
“Volunteering at the MuseLab continues to be a really fun and rewarding experience. Not only am I gaining real world insight and practice in my field of study, but I’m also making valuable connections that I wouldn’t otherwise. Being that my degree is offered nearly 100% online, I oftentimes miss campus life and interacting with fellow students, professors and staff. Now that I’m a MuseLab volunteer I have an opportunity to network, collaborate, build my resume and to make meaningful connections. I can’t wait to contribute to future MuseLab projects and exhibitions— now I know that I don’t have to wait until I find an internship or graduate to do so!”
Working in the MuseLab can be a fun experience that’s both educational and interactive. On top of that, it’s great for your resume! As you can see, our current assistants participate in exhibition design, gain experience in cataloging, and see first hand what goes into creating museum exhibitions. Our mission to collaborate, create, and inspire can’t be done without some help from diverse and creative minds. If you, or someone you know, are interested in taking advantage of a great opportunity, please feel free to contact the MuseLab. We’re excited to work with you!