Laura Russman, a junior at Aurora University, is the recipient of Naper Settlement's inaugural Powell Museum Studies internship. The 16-week internship, which runs from January to April, offers practical museum training experience to individuals interested in pursuing a career in the museum field.
Russman is majoring in history with a minor in museum studies, sociology, and American culture and ethnic studies. She brings a broad background of museum experience that includes the Schingoethe Center for Native American Cultures at Aurora University and the American Theatre Architecture Archives in Elmhurst.
Her future career plans involve working in a collections management position at a local museum.
"Ever since my childhood, growing up in the history-rich areas of Boston, Mass., and Williamsburg, Va., I have always loved visiting living history museums," she said. "I loved the entire experience and I thought it would be a great opportunity to be part of the magic."
During her internship, Russman is working with two departments, curatorial and learning experiences, to gain general knowledge and a broad experience of how the two departments function within the context of a major museum.
Naper Settlement's chief curator Louise Howard said that because Naper Settlement now collects to present day, the museum's collection has jumped to more than 50,000 objects and help is needed with processing these additions.
"Laura has a genuine interest in collections work. With her skills and passion for the profession, she has hit the ground running with all the projects we have for her," Howard said.
The John K. and Judith H. Powell Museum Studies Internship was established in 2012 and offers a $500 stipend to the recipient. The late Jack Powell was president of the Naperville Heritage Society from 1980-82 and Judy Powell is a member of the Weed Ladies volunteer floral design group.
"We were impressed with Laura's experience and her enthusiasm for museums," said Josh Chartier, Naper Settlement's director of organizational resources. "We are excited to have her at Naper Settlement so she can continue to learn and build upon her museum experiences."