Meet an EMP: Emma Max

Emma EMP imageYears in Museum Field: 4

Degrees/Certificates: B.A. Art History, Minor in Museum Studies from the University of Mary Washington
M.A. Museum Education from the University of the Arts

Current Occupation: Education and Public Programs Coordinator at the American Philosophical Society

Previous Museum Experience: Guide and Visitor Services Manager at Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens

Other Relevant Work Experience: Overnight camp counselor, and horseback riding instructor at a summer camp.

Did a mentor play a significant role in your career development? Elisabeth Sommer (now Curator of Education at the El Paso Museum of Art) my first Museum Education professor at the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, VA was the first person to give me the opportunity to understand the potential of learning within museums. Her inspiring class first put me on the career path to be a museum educator, and she continued to be an invaluable mentor as she helped me shape and refine all of the ideas circling around my master’s thesis.

How does your current position fit into your career plan? My current position is my career plan. I get to help people learn, and give all kinds of people the chance to see museums as fun, creative places!

What museum organizations do you belong to? AAM, Museum Council of Philadelphia, Philly EMP

What do you know now that you wish you knew when you began in this profession? I wish I knew just how important and useful my graphic design classes would be. Sorry, Richard!

What do you enjoy most about your position? Working with the incredible front line staff at the APS and planning public programs.

What is it that keeps you engaged at work? I get to work with science, art, and history. I’m always learning new things. Working within a small staff means I get to do many different things. Some days it’s programs and education, others it’s evaluation and data analysis, marketing, or training staff.

Emma began on the museum path with her Advanced Placement Art History class in high school. “I used art to put all of my other studies into perspective and I realized it all made sense.” During college, Emma knew there had to be a way in which she could translate what she loved about school into a career. Knowing she would be graduating college with very little work experience except for one internship at the local museum, Emma thought grad school would be the way to go. Attending UArts brought Emma to Philadelphia and introduced her to an amazing community of young, energetic, and brilliant museum professionals. Thankfully, school turned into internships, which turned into part time jobs, and finally a full time job doing exactly what she set out to do. “I’ve worked very hard but have also been incredibly lucky to have all of the opportunities I’ve had leading up to today.”

Emma’s favorite museums outside of Philadelphia include The National Gallery, the Smithsonian Natural History Museum, and the American Visionary Museum.

Fun Fact: When Emma met my boyfriends family they made her eat a goat head. It was named Billy.


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