Museum Studies

MSC01 1050
1 University of New Mexico
Albuquerque, NM 87131

Physical Location:
Hibben Center
Rm 320

Phone: (505) 277-0786

Click here to donate!

Museum Facebook

Current Graduate Students

Erin Berkowitz

Interests: Natural history collections, specifically botanical collections; herbarium and living botanical garden collections

From Cleveland, Ohio, Erin received a bachelor's degree in biology and volunteered time at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, where her love for natural history collections blossomed. She continued to gain experience in field botany and collections management, worked on a vegetation monitoring crew with the Cleveland Metroparks, interned as a Conservation and Land Management intern for the Chicago Botanic Garden collecting seeds for the Seeds of Success Program, and worked over five years in collections management at the herbarium at the California Botanic Garden.

Erin is an NSF-funded Museum Research Trainee (MRT) Fellow and the Professional Development Officer for the Society of Herbarium Curators: Early Career Section. As one of our Hibben Fellowship recipients, she works with the archaeological department of the Maxwell Museum, located on campus.

Master's Thesis: Incorporates over 100 years of herbarium specimen data combined with new collections to study the effects of climate change on alpine plant phenology (timing of flowering) in the Southern Rocky Mountains. Estimated spring 2024 graduation.

Hannah Cerne

Interests: Art, museum curation

Originally from El Reno, Oklahoma, Hannah graduated with an Associate in Art from Redlands Community College in 2020. She continued her education at the University of Central Oklahoma, where she received a minor in global arts and visual culture and a bachelor’s in arts administration. Throughout her education journey, she interned with the Paseo Arts District and the Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition in Oklahoma City, OK. She was employed at the Melton Gallery in Edmond, OK, while pursuing her undergraduate degree. She also showed her own work at many galleries in the Oklahoma and Canadian County areas. She volunteered with the Paseo Arts Festival in 2021 and 2023, as well as the Oklahoma City Art Festival in 2023.

Hannah's interest in museums started at an early age. Her family traveled to other cities and towns across the United States, always visiting the local museums as part of their trips. She is most interested in the role of the curator at museums and in the stories and information chosen by the curators to be displayed with the artwork. "The curators illustrate the information guests take away and the history the public resonates with. These are the practices and missions I wish to be a part of as a museum professional."

She is a member of the GLAM club and the Student Advisory Council. She currently works as a museum assistant at the University of New Mexico Art Museum and is a research assistant at the University of New Mexico Art Museum. She plans to pursue her PhD at UNM to achieve her dream of being a curator.

Check her recent blog post for the UNMAM From the Archives series “Taos and Santa Fe: The Artist’s Environment, 1882-1942”

Margaret Cowitz

Interests: Art and art history for K–12 in the museum space

Margaret is from the Central Coast of California, where she began her experience with art handling and exhibition installation at local galleries. She received her BA in art history from UC Davis in 2019. Margaret then worked as an intern in the arts education program, which led to a role as a teaching artist at Blue Line Arts, a non-profit art center and multi-gallery installation space just east of Sacramento, CA. During this time, she received her Executive Certificate in Non-Profit Management and Fund Development from Notre Dame University, Mendoza School of Business. During the California lockdown for COVID-19, Margaret became the Community Engagement Coordinator at Blue Line Arts. Since moving to New Mexico, she has been a gallery assistant at Strata Gallery in Santa Fe.

Margaret has received a Hibben Fellowship and is the secretary of UNM's Galleries, Libraries, Archives, and Museums (GLAM) Club.

Leticia De Leon

Interests: Performing arts, art museums and galleries

Leticia joins our program after graduating from The University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio, Texas, with honors. Her BA is in cultural studies and Spanish, with a minor in music. She has played the violin for about 11 years and started to sing as a second soprano in UIW's church choir a year and a half ago. “I wanted to use my Cultural Studies degree in a way that was enriching for me, and that is what led me to museum studies!”

As one of our Hibben Fellowship recipients, she works with the archaeological department of the Maxwell Museum, located on campus.

Janet Freeman

Interests: Collections, preservation, and restoration

Originally from Roswell, New Mexico, she received her BA in art history. She has worked with digital collections at the Bernalillo Community Museum and collection inventory at the Roswell Museum. “I have followed the museum studies path because of my love for museums. Through museums, I developed a deep interest in art, becoming an artist myself.” Her primary medium is portraiture and landscape photography, and has a deep interest in Gothic and Neo-Gothic architecture.

Destiny Gonzalez

Interests: Research, communication, and education

Born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Destiny received her BA in Environmental Studies from Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon, graduating in 2022. She had always been interested in museums, but never really understood just how much until volunteering around 200 hours at the Museum of Southwestern Biology in her senior year of high school. Since then, she has fostered her interest in museums through a curatorial assistantship at her college, managing L&C's mammals’ collection. Destiny was also a laboratory preparator for an invertebrate zoology class, managed its teaching collections, and helped guide students through their own curatorial projects. “I love natural history and biology and hope to show others why they should too! I hope to explore the integration of research and education through possible connections between research and public-facing museums.”

Destiny is a fellow with the NSF Museum Research Trainee (MRT) program.

Alexis Lucero

Interests: Collections management, particularly connecting Indigenous communities with their belongings held in museum collections. Community-informed collection management practices, collections care, and community-informed curatorial practices

Alexis, a member of the Pueblo of Isleta, received her BA in American Studies, Cum Laude from Amherst College, and a Five College Certificate in Native and Indigenous Studies. She has worked at Amherst College’s Archives and Special Collections, was a 2023 Peabody Essex Museum Native American Fellow, Hibben Museum Partner Fellow at Yonan An Cultural Center, and was an American Philosophical Society Native American Studies Undergraduate Intern in 2022. “Pueblo communities are overrepresented in museum collections and severely underrepresented in the museum field, and I want to change that.” Alexis is a part of the Kiva Club on campus and works as a project assistant for an upcoming exhibit at the Maxwell Museum, “Pottery Families." She is a part of the Hibben Museum Partner Fellowship and the Amherst College Memorial Fellowship.

Master’s Project: Using community-informed curatorial practices to have Pueblo potters from the 21 Pueblos select pottery pieces from the Maxwell’s Ethnology collection and respond to their choices. Estimated spring 2024 graduation.

Lucas McDaniel

Interests: Archival and collection work

Lucas is currently based in Taos, NM, where he serves as a collections and archives specialist for The Lunder Research Center. He is a current Hibben Fellow and graduate student in the Museum Studies program at the University of New Mexico. In 2017, after graduating with an MFA from Otis College of Art and Design, he was introduced to the different career paths that museums offer. “My enthusiasm for the field of museum studies was further solidified during my tenure as a Collections Intern with the National Council for Preservation Education at Whiskeytown National Recreation Area. This unique experience allowed me to contribute significantly to the preservation of historical artifacts and deepen my understanding of museum operations.”

Master’s Project: Creation of an exhibition script about the life of artist’s model, Ben Lujan. Estimated spring 2024 graduation.

Madisyn Rostro

Interests: Museum collections, management practices and stewardship, historical collections, and community collaboration

Madisyn attended Iowa State University and received her bachelor’s in history and anthropology with a minor in American Indian studies. During her undergraduate career, she participated in four internship experiences and completed a Wayne and Eleanor Ostendorf Farm House Museum Undergraduate Assistant Internship in Ames, IA, as well as a Collections/Curatorial Internship at the Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site in Cornish, NH, where she was also a Student Fellow for the American Conservation Experience. Madisyn also completed a collections internship at the Hastings Museum in Hastings, NE. “I am particularly interested in historical collections and learning more about collection management practices and how to be an outstanding steward of the collections in our care. I have also been interested in community collaborations regarding collections within the museum field, as these are important relationships to build on.”

Currently, Madisyn is a Hibben Fellow, where she works at the Maxwell Museum of Anthropology, working in the Ethnology collections. She is also a research assistant for the Chaco Culture National Historical Park, working as a research request assistant.

Master’s Project: Creating a catalog database and collection management policy for the Kit Carson Home and Museum in Taos, New Mexico. Estimated spring 2024 graduation.

Kaitlynn Stewart

Interests: Community outreach and collaboration, accessibility, education, and public programming, particularly in zoos, aquariums, gardens, children’s museums, and natural history museums

Kaitlynn received her BA in Anthropology with a focus in archaeology and evolutionary anthropology and a minor in museum studies, along with extensive coursework in elementary education at UNM. She has internships at the Nuclear History and Science Museum as a collections and registrar assistant, as well as at Explora, working as a community outreach educator, and The Maxwell Museum as an archaeological collections’ assistant. Kaitlynn volunteered as an interpretive planning assistant for the Japanese American Confinement Sites Grant, NPS-Amache Barrack in Colorado. She is one of the creators of the on-going online exhibition AlbuQUEERque, an online community-curated oral and visual history project that highlights the relationship between queer identity and community and how queer people's daily lives influence and are influenced by the greater Albuquerque community.

Kaitlynn is a research assistant for the Chaco Culture National Historical Park, working as the lead intern for a digitization project that will make the park’s historic photographs available online. As the president of UNM's Galleries, Libraries, Archives, and Museums (GLAM) Club, you may see her at campus events and around the city, representing the GLAM Club and the Museum Studies department.

Master’s Project: After evaluating how museums are engaging with younger generations to create lifelong interest in museum content and retain this audience moving into the future, Kaitlynn will be using this information to create a usable action plan for outreach and engagement that museums can put into effect. Estimated spring 2024 graduation.

Nikolitsa (Litsa) Wooten

Interests: Mammal collections and natural history museums

Litsa has a bachelor’s degree in Fisheries, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology and a second bachelor’s degree in animal biology. They became interested in museum studies after learning how to prepare small mammal study skins at Kansas State University. There, she worked with a professor for three years, learning about field collections, tissue collection and preservation, study skin preparation, DNA extraction, PCR, sequence cleaning, and some data management. “During my 3 years at K-State, everything that I worked on was actually sent to MSB before I ever started here!”

Litsa is a part of the MRT Museum Research Trainee (MRT) program and is funded by the NSF-funded STEPP-NET project.

Master’s Project: Working in Joe Cook’s mammal lab, Litsa is creating an interactive web-based map showcasing the relationship between the mammals and parasites collected by MSB in Mongolia from 1999–2023. Estimated spring 2024 graduation.