Brandon P. Hartung, Museum Attendant and Interpreter: Museum Job Spotlight

My name is… Brandon P. Hartung
The name of my museum is… Glensheen Historic Estate, University of Minnesota Duluth
My job title is… Museum Attendant and Interpreter

What’s your day to day like? What are your main responsibilities?

Arrive at work, make some coffee, say hello to our wonderful staff, and fill my time researching or reading before giving a tour. While giving a tour my main goals are framing domestic servitude in early 20th century American Estates, income disparities, the changing of Minnesota’s economy toward iron mining in the 20th century, and promoting the preservation of Minnesotan Craftsmanship. Thinking about how we interact with non-black box museums to improve the visitor experience is also very very high on my list of responsibilities.

What is your absolute favorite part of your job? 😍

Our little slice of 10 acres sits right on the shores of Lake Superior and next to Tischer Creek which boasts a beautiful hiking trail. Enjoying the natural beauty of this area is favorite but also talking to my fellow history nerds about many different topics! Also, Duluth is a Cool City, literally and figuratively!

What advice would you give someone that wants to work in your profession?

Exhaust all the cliches you can! The mighty Sisyphus pushes the boulder up the hill, even when the job gets a lil over bearing keep at it! Never Drink alone, I’d suggest finding or making a Bar League Trivia Group to boost the ego, promote team bonding, and increase feelings of grandeur. Progress doesn’t happen overnight (Rome wasn’t built in a day) and progress never happens in a vacuum, we need our communities and colleagues to move forward. Challenge the Status Quo! Finally, we are the true history makers… let that sink in…

What is the best part about working in the museum industry? 🏛💗

Gosh, what a loaded question! I’d say what isn’t! Except for long hours of training, paperwork, and loaded bureaucracy. Its generally fulfilling, my colleagues are students and scholars when bored looking at the art collection isn’t too shabby either! I’m currently obtaining a masters degree in education and doing that while being in the heart of public education is freaking awesome!

What part of your job is the most surprising?

The lack of public history in American society, our innate habit of modernity bias, slow inclusion of technology into museums (all things I want to study and improve upon). Also, on another note when a young child/ adult asks complex questions that we museum nerds discuss. It’s my hope to think that young person may make a “Museum F**Ing Awesome” someday!

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