Maritime Exhibits: Alumna Emma Hodges and Mystic Seaport Museum

Connecticut’s Mystic Seaport Museum is the nation’s leading maritime museum, garnering an average of 284,000 visitors annually and inspiring “an enduring connection to the American maritime experience.” The Museum’s grounds cover 19 acres on the Mystic River in Mystic, CT and include a recreated New England coastal village, a working shipyard, formal exhibit halls, and state-of-the-art artifact storage facilities. This unique site connects the local community to its maritime past through hands-on learning such as boatbuilding and design courses, community sailing programs, and college programs.

Arts Extension Service alum Emma Hodges is the Exhibits Specialist at the Mystic Seaport Museum. She graduated from UMass in the spring of 2017 with a Bachelor’s in History and a Core Certificate in Arts Management.

As the Exhibition Specialist Emma is the primary coordinator for all installations and de-installations of traveling exhibits at the museum. Her job includes acting as a liaison with other museums, troubleshooting during exhibit installation, and acquiring permissions for image use. Emma works with her team to ensure the exhibits are ready to open for the public.

During her time at UMass, working on a Core Certificate in Arts Management involved taking five Arts Management courses. Emma chose a mix of on-campus and online classes, including Introduction to Arts Management, Arts Programming, Arts Fundraising, Financial Management in the Arts, and Arts Marketing.

Emma works with tools she gained from the certificate courses in her position of Exhibition Specialist. “I conduct and track surveys now for upcoming exhibits. In my Arts Marketing class, I had the opportunity to create surveys and learn how to create a good survey for our audience. It has been helpful in creating surveys for the Museum,” Emma explains.

“My AES certificate definitely helped me to progress in history museum field. Working with actual institutions as case studies gave me valuable insight into the field. It helped me identify what I did and did not want to pursue. Even though I don’t work directly with donors or budgets, having an understanding and appreciation of those pieces enhances the work I do. Plus, working with these institutions helped with [building] my resume,” she says.

So, what’s next? Where does she see herself in five years? “Well, lighting exhibits seem interesting to me. I am thinking more about learning about it and I can see that being a big thing. I’ve been working with several traveling exhibits managers and their jobs seems very exciting and fast-paced, something I loved when I did stage managing in college.”

We wish Emma good luck in all her endeavors!

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