Archivist - Dawson City Museum
I was born/grew up in: Arnold's Cove, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada
I now live in: Dawson City, Yukon, Canada
I completed my training/education at: University of Western Ontario, Memorial University of Newfoundland and Labrador
Describe what you do at work.
During the day I do a lot of community relations for the town I live in, as well as a great deal of research for visitors or the Museum itself to prepare for new exhibits. Being part of a small staff in a small institution, I often have to do a number of other activities that are not related to my field, including a number of public outreach initiatives. I often meet with my co-workers to determine fundraising opportunities that we can undertake not just for the Museum's profit but also to provide more to the rural community.
When I was a student I enjoyed:
How does your job affect people’s lives?
My career is relevant to others in that I often meet with visitors who have come to the Yukon as they have a personal connection, such as a grandfather who came during the Klondike Gold Rush. Additionally, I often work with television companies or writers who do work on the history of the region, or the gold mining in the area, and the research and work I provide helps create books that are read and television that is watched internationally.
What motivates you in your career?
My career is one of smaller victories, where we receive the most joy out of visitors who express pleasure with our Museum, and we feel extra good when individual initiatives are recognized and remarked upon, as that is our entire goal; visitor interaction and satisfaction. The donation of materials we receive and the stories we collect help us to create a better image of the history of the town and the region, and we love to grow as an institution to better serve our community and those who visit from elsewhere.
When I was a student, I would have described myself as someone who:
Describe your career path to this career.
I have a Bachelors degree in English literature, as well as a Master of Library and Information Sciences. I did not know exactly what I would do during school and was well through my English degree before I figured out the Librarian/Archivist path for myself. The often methodical and solitary work of the winter when we are not open to the public suits my personality best, but it is nicely contrasted with the busy tourist season of the summer when we get to truly see how we have grown to help facilitate the best experience possible for our patrons.
What activities do you like to do outside of work?
Dawson City provides many outlets for fun, and I find myself volunteering at many different venues during musical or other cultural events, and being in the north, find myself part of a lot of stereotypical hobbies such as curling and chopping wood.
What advice or encouragement would you give others seeking a similar career?
Understand that archival work is not necessarily a science but more of an art - what works for one institution may not work for yours because of the materials or the size so learn as much as you can and don't be afraid to jump into description and cataloguing to see what is the best method for you.