KU Museum Studies Program

Our partnership with the Watkins Museum of History led to another especially fruitful partnership, one with a far-reaching impact on the mission and function of the  Max Kade Center (MKC): uncovering the largely untapped potential of the Center to provide opportunities to KU Museum Studies students to acquire hands-on, real-world professional training with KU’s Master’s Degree Program in Museum Studies. In spring 2019 the MKC had the pleasure of welcoming students and instructors from MUSE 704: Collections Management & Utilization, (a Museum Studies course regularly taught by Brittany Keegan & Steve Nowak, Director of the Watkins) to the MKC. The students spent the semester identifying and then tackling ambitious projects ranging from security, pest control, collections inventory condition reports, and promotion of the Center. Groups of students brought their considerable expertise, energy, and talents to the MKC. Their invaluable insights and recommendations revolutionized the Center’s approach to managing our significant collections of books, artifacts, and archival collections. The work they completed that semester continues to guide and inform our collections management work.

Museum Studies Students and Projects

The MKC has since benefitted enormously from individual Museum Studies interns hired to carry out individual large-scale project projects that had become top collections-related priorities for the MKC.

Graduate Students working on laptops in the Max Kade porch

In Fall 2021, the MKC served as a site host for final projects in Dr. Whitney Baker’s MUSE 706: Conservation Principles & Practices. Students undertook a variety of projects relating to building, storage, and environmental assessment for a regional cultural heritage institution. Specifically, the students assisted with the creation of a three-year preservation plan for the Center.

The MKC has in recent semesters offered multiple 1- to 3- semester-long internships held by Museum Studies students. While the students completed projects that had become collections-related priorities for the MKC, this has proven to be a mutually beneficial partnership: the Center aims to support interns’ professional development.

  • Spring 2022 | Natalie Vrondrek (M.A., KU Museum Studies Program spring 2022), Archival Collections Housing Intern | Natalie identified items in a large collection of mid-century drawings and commercial art requiring similar archival care based on the organization of the collection.  Natalie sorted, inventoried and stored the collection in appropriate archival housing enclosures they had identified, consulted with librarians and conservators in KU Libraries on how best to structure the inventory, employing professional standards and procedures utilized by KU Libraries.
  • January - August 2022 | Eleni Leventopolous, (M.A., Museum Studies 2022), Book Preservation Intern | Eleni vacuumed wrapped, tied, and labeled, using appropriate archival preservation materials and methods, approximately 900 18th- and 19th-century books in the Center’s Milwaukee Turner Collection suffering from the natural leather degradation process known as red rot.
  • Fall 2019 - 2022 | Sarah Fulton (Goebel), (M.A., KU Museum Studies 2020), Exhibition Development and Design Intern | Sarah researched, developed, designed, and installed an exhibit on the history of the Sudler House and on Dr. Mervin T. Sudler, who constructed the home in 1927; The exhibit highlights Dr. Sudler’s connections to KU, local, and state history.
  • Our earliest MUSE Intern, JoJo Palko created an exhibit about Dr. Henry D. Remple ((MA., Psychology, University of Minnesota, 1933) using artifacts generously gifted to the MKC by Henry’s daughter, Dr. Lucy McAllister. The collection included Henry’s autobiography, From Bolshevik Russia to America: A Mennonite Family Story (2nd ed. (2012), photographs, a brush, blanket, and other family treasures Henry and his two sisters (the only three in their family of 11 to survive their emigration to the United States) brought with them to the United States after fleeing their village, Alexanderwohl, Ukraine, in April 1922, after the First World War, the Bolshevik Revolution, and the Russian Civil War. Henry and his sisters Agatha and Agnes, arrived at Ellis Island in 1923. Jo Jo also created a complete bibliography of a large book collection the MKC had recently been gifted: the personal library of Albert Bloch.