Liz is an archivist for the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and graduated from the program in 2000
As a History major in college, I spent my summers interning at museums and historical societies in hopes of finding my niche. I knew there had to be other career options beyond teaching and law school. I spoke with my professors and contacted experienced archivists for advice on how to break into the field. And then one day while perusing a massive graduate school survey in my career center, I came across NYU’s graduate program in History and Archival Management. As I read the description of the program, I knew it was for me. It all clicked at that moment and the rest is history, literally.
I was quite fortunate to connect with the head of the program, Dr. Peter Wosh, early on. He put me in touch with the Mellon project at The New-York Historical Society and I began an internship the summer before my first semester. I really enjoyed the hands-on aspects of the work and touching papers of such historical significance. At that time, I also made connections with experienced archivists in New York City and started building a network that I still lean on today.
During my 2 years in the NYU program, I also had the privilege of working in the University Archives. I learned how to apply archival principles to the reality of every day work. This lesson is one that I continue to apply in my work today. If I have learned nothing else, practical, hands-on experience is critical to problem solving and building a successful Archives Department.
Upon graduation in 2000, I took a job as an archivist in the AIG Archives Department in downtown NYC. I was extremely fortunate to be part of a larger team (staff of 5) with resources and a supervisor who encouraged me to attend professional workshops and obtain my Certified Archivists designation. I truly believe that my education and the connections I made at NYU helped me attain this position. I was confident in my skill set and knew that my degree would set me apart from others, and it did.
Today, I work as the Archivist for the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. It has been 9 years and I can proudly add to my resume that I built and grew an Archive very early on in my career. I became the archival authority and enjoyed the privilege of supporting numerous high-profile projects like our Christie’s auction in 2004. I also developed a successful Oral History Project, and presently, focus on building the corporate records of the Foundation. I attend conferences and keep abreast of new trends, involving both paper-based and electronic records. I am quite fortunate that my institution invests in me and in my professional development.
To all of the future graduates of the NYU Archives and Public History program, my advice is to consider all job opportunities and network as much as you can, both with other archivists, but also with the management of your institution. I can say from experience, you are off to a great start with NYU behind you.
Posted October 2011