Museum Job Spotlight: Lindsey Steward
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The name of my museum is… Long Island Maritime Museum
My name is… Lindsey Steward
My job title is… Education and Visitor Service Assistant
This job title means that I mainly work on…
I mainly work with the visitor services department providing customer service and answer questions for school groups and visitors.
Give us a quick overview of your department/museum.
The Long Island Maritime Museum is committed to research, preservation, and interpretation of Long Island’s nautical heritage and Long Island’s role in our national maritime history for educational purposes. It has nine historic buildings, including one of the National Historic Landmarks the Rudolph Oyster House, and fourteen acres of land. Located in West Sayville, the museum has welcomed many visitors for over forty years.
What inspires you about your museum’s mission?
The museum’s dedication to preserving and interpreting Long Island’s role in the region’s and nation’s maritime history through educational practices is inspirational to me.
What advice would you give to the aspiring museum professional?
My advice for the aspiring museum professional is to make and maintain your connections in the museum field. You can not only learn more about the museum field from your peers but you can also form partnerships on projects, and even learn about career opportunities. Also, I recommend participating in as many professional development events as possible. Our field is continuing to grow and adapt to the changing world, and new innovations are emerging; in order to keep your education about museums relevant and up to date, there are various ways to build your skills and develop new skills for your career and your museum.
Another piece of advice I can give is to develop your hobbies, such as reading, writing, and hiking since you never know how you can utilize your hobbies for your position in the museum field. Your career will continue to present opportunities and challenges that lay in your path but the most important lessons to learn is to face them, learn from them, adapt, and move forward. It is not easy to be in this field during this economy but if you take this advice to heart, you will be fine…look out for those opportunities.
How did you find your way into the museum industry?
When I was a child, I learned so much from attending school field trips to museums, and the lessons I learned helped me become a better student in school. As a student with learning differences, my trip to reaching my educational goals took a long way round to meet; I was able to accomplish my goals and exceed them. After I received my Bachelor’s degree in History from Western New England University, I went on to earn my Master’s degree in Public History from Central Connecticut State University.
While I was in graduate school, one of my assignments was to interview a museum professional and I chose to interview one at the Old State House in Hartford and as a result from this interview, I got an internship in the education department. During graduate school, many opportunities to develop my skills as a museum educator and museum professional helped me become a better professional. For instance, I got a job as a museum teacher at Stanley-Whitman House in Farmington, Connecticut and a museum interpreter for the Hartford historic house museums owned by Connecticut Landmarks; also, my classmates, colleagues, and myself worked together on an exhibit for the Connecticut Historical Society (called Cooking by the Book: Amelia Simmons to Martha Stewart that ran between January and April 2013). Then I moved on to a position as a museum educator at the Long Island Museum in Stony Brook.
Now I am at the Long Island Maritime Museum part-time, and I am a writer for a blog that I began about the museum education field specifically on my experiences and current developments in the field. My career is still continuing to evolve and I look forward to the opportunities that lay in store for me.
What is your earliest memory of being in a museum?
My earliest memory of being in a museum was a family visit to the Plimoth Plantation in Plymouth, Massachusetts. When I was a kid, my family went inside the meeting house and I went up to the pulpit to pretend to give a speech to whoever was there at the time that will listen to me. I even pretended to be a minister by pretending to give communion and shake everyone’s hand. Later in life, I realized how much I enjoyed working with people and my love for history and museums. This memory and many other visits to museums and historic sites inspired me to start my career in the museum field.