Alumni profile Matthew Thompson
Year of Graduation: 2004
Where are you working? Briefly what does your job entail?
I work as a museum technician at the Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum in Abilene, KS. One of the major components of my job involves overseeing a complete re-inventory of the museum’s collection – approximately 70,000 artifacts. In addition to assisting with collections management, I also help install and maintain exhibits, provide reference services to visitors and members of the public, and research and catalog new acquisitions.
What aspects of your job do you enjoy the most? Find the most challenging?
Preserving history and making it accessible and exciting to other people is the most rewarding part of my job. I also enjoy being able to work with such a wide variety of objects that were involved in some of the most significant events of the twentieth century.
One of the greatest challenges in this field is balancing everything you’d like to accomplish in an ideal universe with what can be done with the resources and time that are available.
How has your major or minor in German helped you after graduation? How are you using the language, communication, or the intercultural communication skills you learned in the program?
German has always been the backdrop against which many of my other interests have been situated. Being conversant in the language and culture has enabled me to better appreciate and understand the nuances of history, literature, politics, international relations, and even music and film. German history is also inextricably linked to the military and political career of President Eisenhower; having some background knowledge in these areas has helped put a lot of the work I do here in better context.
Has your job given you any insight as to what you would like to pursue as a career?
Indeed it has; working in the area of museums and public history has long been, and remains, my primary career goal.
What advice would you give to any German majors or minors searching for a job?
Whatever your particular interests are, find a way to keep developing them after you graduate. Volunteering, joining an organization, taking a summer course (or even going to graduate school) are all good ways to build professional contacts, gain experience, and learn about your field.