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Emerging Museum Professionals (EMP)


Training Classes for those New to the Museum Field

If you are a student about to enter the museum field or if you are new to the museum field you should attend MPMA's 2019 EMP Training Sessions!

EMP sessions are part of MPMA's 2019 Conference. To attend these sessions, you must register for the conference.

Register here

We have all been there and wondered what happens after graduation or if you switch fields. How do I break into the museum field? How do I get a job?  Should I do an internship? How should I dress? What do I look for in an institution? Who do I ask for help?

MPMA’s EMP sessions will help you answer these questions while building your professional network.

You will have the chance to talk to directors to find out what they look for in potential employees and to recently graduated EMPs to learn how they landed their first museum job. One-on-one resume counseling will provide you customized assistance.

By attending EMP sessions, you will make friends who will help you "Get out there" during the conference to meet potential employers and mentors. So sign up and take your first step into a larger world!

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There are EMP Sessions for All Levels of Emerging:

EMP Level 1 – Students newly graduated/about to graduate/looking for their first museum job

EMP Level 2 – Professionals with 1-3 years of professional experience in the field

EMP Level 3 – Professionals with 3+ years at or near mid-career


Need help making it to the conference? Apply for a scholarship! MPMA and its affiliates have several scholarships available for students and new professionals.  2019 Scholarship Guidelines

Go here for MPMA's Scholarship Application.  Deadline is June 22, 2019.

Conference Highlights for EMPs

EMP ORIENTATION:            Sunday, September 22 (EMP Level 1) 12:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.

EMP RESUME REVIEW:      Monday, September 23 (All Levels) 1:15pm–2:30pm

EMP Session and Event Schedule: Sunday, Monday, Tuesday

Sunday, September 22, 2019

EMP Orientation    12:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.  

Pre-registration required.

Aimed at EMP Level 1 for Students who will be entering the professional world.
Orientation includes EMP 1 – EMP 4

This lunch session serves as an introduction to MPMA and offers tips on how to glean the most benefits from attending the annual conference. Everything from introductions to professional practices will be covered and there will be an opportunity for ample Q and A. Especially suited for Emerging Professionals Level 1.

12:00pm–12:15pm Lunch gathering for EMPs/ those new to MPMA (light lunch included)

12:15pm–12:30pm Introduction to MPMA: Success Stories and Personal Narratives

1:00pm–1:30pm How to work a room and creating your MPMA Pack

1:30pm–1:45pm Break

1:45pm–2:45pm How to best navigate MPMA for your professional goals: Question & Answer

Presenters: Casey Seger, Museum Registrar, Great Plains Art Museum, University of Nebraska-Lincoln / Valerie Innella Maiers, Museum Studies Professor, Casper College, Casper Wyoming / Patti Wood Finkle, Director of Museums, Casper College, Casper Wyoming / Kristin Martin, Programs Director, Museum of World Treasures, Wichita, KS

Monday, September 23, 2019 - For Any EMP Level



This session provides an overview to crafting resumes, curriculum vitae, appropriate cover letters, and the importance of a career journal.   The presentation format includes a short informational session, attendee/presenter Q and A, and time for individual resume reviews with presenters.

Presenters: Stephen Whittington, Executive Director, National Mining Hall of Fame and Museum, Leadville, CO / Eric Wimmer, Museum Collections Registrar, IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native Arts, Santa Fe, NM / Valerie Innella Maiers, Museum Studies Professor, Casper College, Casper, WY


Do you have a sneaking feeling that you should be advocating for better treatment as an employee, but you don’t know where to start? This session will equip you with tools to understand the HR world and yourself so you can more effectively find contentment in your work situation.

Presenters: Kristin Martin, Programs Director, Museum of World Treasures, Wichita, KS / Lauren Hunley, Community Historian, Western Heritage Center, Billings, MT / Magdalena Vigil-Tullar, Labor/Employee Relations Officer, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM / Stefani Pendergast, Assistant Collections Manager, Denver Art Museum, Denver, CO / Jay S. Smith, State Museum Director, Museum of the South Dakota State Historical Society, Pierre, SD



Whether you are looking for your first museum position or have many years’ experience, this session is perfect for you. Come join us for a roundtable discussion to hear tips, concerns, advice, and thought-provoking questions from panelists at all stages in our careers. Bring your questions/concerns and share them with us.

Presenters: Susie Fishman-Armstrong, Collections Manager of Archaeology, Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History, Norman, OK / Christina Naruszewicz, Collections Manager of Ethnology, Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History, Norman, OK / Heidi Vaughn, Director, Laboratory of History Museum, University of Central Oklahoma, Edmond, OK / Steve Friesen, Partner, Friesen/Dakin Museum Consulting, Littleton, CO

Tuesday, September 24, 2019 - For Any EMP Level



Are you an emerging or developing professional at a loss for how to continue improving yourself professionally without breaking the bank? Look no further! This panel of EMPs from varied work backgrounds will share their favorite methods for keeping on top of the professional curve.

Presenters: Casey Seger, Museum Registrar, Great Plains Art Museum, University of Nebraska - Lincoln, NE / Lauren Hunley, Community Historian, Western Heritage Center, Billings, MT / Kristin Martin, Programs Director, Museum of World Treasures, Wichita, KS



The Current Research from the Field session provides an opportunity for professionals in the museum and heritage fields to present their research to their colleagues. Students, emerging professionals, and established professionals who work or study in the region will present current research or work in progress on matters relating to museums and heritage.

Chairs: Nicky Ladkin, Assistant Director, Museum of Texas Tech University, Lubbock, TX / Mark Janzen, Director of Museum Studies, University of Central Oklahoma, Edmond, OK

Presenters to be selected from proposal submission process. Learn more.


Internships are Win-Win. Dedicated interns gain practical experience in museum work and prepare to enter the job market, while museums gain crucial project support and audience insights from the student community. This session offers guidance on crafting successful partnerships between museums and academic programs to leverage the benefits for all.

Presenters: Loa Traxler, Director of Museum Studies, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM / Ethan Ortega, Instructional Coordinator and Supervisory Archaeologist, New Mexico Historic Sites, Bernalillo, NM / Rebecca Prinster, Assistant Curator of History, Albuquerque Museum of Art and History, Albuquerque, NM / Donald Baker, Master of Museum Studies Program, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM

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