Meet an EMP: Emily Leischner

Years in Museum Field: 3

Degrees/Certificates: BA History and English, Goshen College

Current Occupation: Administrative Assistant, American Painting and Sculpture at the Philadelphia Museum of Art

Previous Museum Experience: NAGPRA Research Assistant, University of Pennsylvania Museum of Anthropology and Archaeology (2012-Present)
Visitor Services Assistant, Philadelphia Museum of Art (2011-2012)
Camp Counselor, The Franklin Institute (2011-2012)
Volunteer Coordinator and Docent, Elfreth’s Alley Museum (2010-2012)
Development Intern, Northern Indiana Center for History (2008)

Did a mentor play a significant role in your career development? I can’t say I have had a single mentor, but I am grateful to countless museum colleagues who shared their experiences and advice with me along the way.

How does your current position fit into your career plan? Looking back, my career path seems pretty haphazard, but each job has given me a bit more insight into where I want to land in the museum field. In the future, I’m hoping to work more closely with museum collections, and my current job has been fantastic for sampling all the diverse options that plan could take.

What museum organizations do you belong to? American Alliance of Museums and Philly EMP

What do you know now that you wish you knew when you began in this profession? When I graduated, I set very high expectations of myself and what type of position I should have. Cutting myself some slack and letting go of some of those expectations, while remaining focused on my goals is something I constantly struggle with.

What do you enjoy most about your position? My favorite aspect of my job is working closely with historical objects, and on challenging projects with the many passionate people in my department.

What is it that keeps you engaged at work? I love the unexpected variety of tasks! On any given day, I could be researching permanent collection objects in storage or the library, or manipulating images for exhibition layouts. The assortment of responsibilities is engaging and keeps me learning new things.

Emily Leischner has been with the American Art department since January 2012. Emily moved to Philadelphia in 2010 with no job prospects or connections, starting her museum career by volunteering at Elfreth’s Alley Museum.  After working part-time and volunteering on the side, she accepted a position at the Philadelphia Musuem of Art in Visitor Services which lead to internal opportunities in other departments. Emily considers herself incredibly fortunate along the way to have support from fabulous friends and colleagues.

Fun Fact: Emily once helped catch and release a two-foot hound shark off the coast of New Jersey.


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