Talking History–National Museum of the U.S. Army

UMW alumna, Kerri Kline, visited on Thursday, April 9th to speak about her job as the Chief of Operations of the Army Historical Foundation and the building of the National Museum of the U.S. Army.  She spoke about the layout of the museum (set to open about two years from now) and the business aspects of running a museum.  She explained how learning the marketing and finance skills were a challenge when she first began working for the foundation.  However, Kline learned quickly and at one point opened her own consulting firm, which allowed her some flexibility and the ability to learn more about business.  Kline made her way back to the foundation a couple of years after beginning consulting, realizing that working with history was her true passion.  Dr. Devlin asked a question about an exhibit in the museum that explains the stories about both Union and Confederate soldiers during the American Civil War.  The designers call this exhibit a “touch of gray,” because it features both sides of the war.  This opened up questions of how the museum was going to address issues of minorities recognized in the U.S. Army.  This created a discussion about how the museum was taking an approach of not to avoid controversial subjects since they are all important to understanding the history of the U.S. Army.  Kline ended the talk by explaining how her major in History at UMW helped her to develop the skills necessary to work for the foundation–such as reading analytically, synthesizing information, and communicating efficiently.  She gave advice to current undergraduates to take advantage of study abroad and internship opportunities.  She highlighted how important it was to try many different opportunities because it is the only way you will be able to know where your passion lies.

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