Museum Job Spotlight 4 Easy Questions: Jonathan Sondergeld
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Jonathan Sondergeld, American Sign Language Gallery Talk Educator at the Art Institute of Chicago
What specific skills enable you to succeed in your job?
I use American Sign Language fluently, if not natively. My immersion into the Deaf community provide skills used while trying to communicate ideas and concepts. My minor in art history, bachelors in interior design and masters in architecture helps me come up with approaches to art education.
Why is the museum industry the right place for you?
I fell into the job – but it turned out to be a good fit! I select the topics to teach and have flexibility in how I approach the gallery talks. The flexibility is vital especially when it comes to educating the Deaf, which is a somewhat different approach than tours for non-deaf persons.
How do you know when it’s time to look for the next opportunity?
If you volunteer yourself for more responsibilities/tasks and don’t see an eventual increase in reliance. Or, when it’s clear you aren’t going to be given more tasks, it’s time to move on.
During the job hunt, what should applicants be looking for?
One should be looking to be working with a team. My experience thus far in the museum industry requires a lot of teamwork and working with a wide range of personalities. Seek environments that are open and accepting – the social aspects of the workplace has a huge impact with how well the job works for you.