OMA 2019 Student Scholarship Blog - Hillary Butler

The Ohio Museums Association is committed to connecting and empowering museum professionals at all stages of their career — including our student and emerging museum professionals!

For our 2019 OMA Annual Conference, OMA was very proud to offer students seeking careers in the museum field, scholarships to attend OMA 2019 in Akron.

Miss our previous posts? Learn more about the Scholarship series and read our previous entries here.

This week's post comes from Hillary Butler. Hillary recently completed coursework in the Arts Administration program at the University of Akron and will be working towards completing her thesis. Hillary currently works at the Cleveland Museum of Art Museum Store and is starting an internship at Transformer Station in Cleveland. 

"Openness of Ideas"

The Ohio Museum Association’s Annual Conference was the best way to end my Master’s education in Arts Administration. It was a whirlwind of ideas, fun, and networking that equipped me for my future and inspired me to strive towards my goals in my career and personal fulfillment. The conference, for me, was an excellent exercise in my communication skills. I tend to be rather shy, especially when I feel that I am in the company of experienced professionals, and that tends to intimidate me. However, the conference weekend pushed me out of my comfort zone and allowed me to exhibit my passion for the arts and the museum world, not only to the other conference attendees, but to myself as well. In being able to discuss my own ideas, I found that I have worthy input and that I feel prepared to begin down this career path.

 It was exhilarating to be in the presence of so many like-minded individuals, all of who have incredible careers and experiences that they are excited to share. This openness of ideas was refreshing. I was immersed within a community that was holding hands and walking with each other towards the betterment of the Ohio museum field as a whole, and not segmenting or withholding from each other.

 In the end, my greatest takeaway was this: the Ohio Museums Association Conference gave me a confidence and courage I didn’t know that I even needed. Though I am a younger, and perhaps less experienced museum professional, the conference conversations I had led me to understand that my input, opinion, and experience are valuable contributions to any conversation about the future and current state of Ohio museums. I think this is important for all young professionals. It is important that we keep open minds and learn from the experience of our colleagues around us, but also that we are confident about sharing our thoughts and experiences too because it is often a perspective that goes unnoticed or unsaid.

I am so happy that I was able to attend the OMA Annual Conference and hope that I am in attendance in the future as well!