Profiles: Ellen Trappey

The Greater Philadelphia region is rich with great cultural institutions, each with a stellar staff of museum professionals. This feature is designed to use an interview to help us introduce you to some of the city and region’s best and brightest in the business.

Ellen Trappey

Ellen TrappeyYears in Museum Field: 1

Degrees/Certificates: BA in Classical Studies, Millsaps College
MEd in Community Counseling, Lynchburg College

Current Position: Community Programming Specialist, Franklin Institute

Previous Museum Experience: I worked as a pre-k counselor at The Franklin Institute’s Discovery Camp this past summer.

Other Relevant Work Experience: I was lucky enough to make a complete career shift, out of the mental health field into the museum/festival world. I worked as a psychotherapist and as an alcohol/other drug educator for the 8 years prior to starting at The Franklin.

Did a mentor play a significant role in your career development? Many people have impacted who I am as a professional, but not really anyone in the museum (yet!)

How does your current position fit into your career plan? I love working with and engaging people, and I believe that one of my greatest strengths as a human being is my ability to form relationships and this position fits perfectly with that! I get to work at one of the most amazing museums in the world, engage with Philadelphians AND get them excited about science. How cool is that!!!

What museum organizations do you belong to? Philly Emerging Museum Professionals

What do you know now that you wished you knew when you began this profession? I’m sure I have many, many lessons to learn.

What do you enjoy most about your position? Working with brilliant people each and every day.

What is it that keeps you engaged at work? The challenge of learning something new and the people- my colleagues at the museum and the community members that I get to interact with.

When Ellen Trappey graduated with a Master of Education in Counseling degree, her end goal was to one day start a private therapy practice. Ellen ended up getting there much sooner than expected, and quickly learned that working in isolation was not a good fit. After a bit of soul searching, Ellen realized that the professional life that she had chosen for herself was not how she actually wanted to spend the rest of her career.With a love of history and Philadelphia, Ellen started looking for entry level positions in the museum world and stumbled upon the opportunity to start volunteering for Elfreth’s Alley. “I spent one day a week there,” Ellen explained, “and the relationships that I formed enabled me to get my foot in the door at The Franklin Institute.” When the Philadelphia Science Festival Community Positions was posted, Ellen jumped at the opportunity to work in a position that develops relationships and serves the Philadelphia region.

Fun Fact: Ellen has two bulldogs, one French and one English.


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