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Student Snapshot: Sam Waltman ’20

Sam Waltman '20 is a double major in educational studies and history who'll enter a museum studies grad program next fall.

“I’ve always had an interest in what stories we hear, how we hear them and how we are shaped by them,” says Sam Waltman ’20. As a double major in history and educational studies, volunteer at Lamberton Middle School and as an intern at The Trout Gallery, Cumberland County Historical Society and elsewhere, Waltman researches, shapes and tells stories that aim to educate and enlighten. After an internship at Fort Ticonderoga this summer, he’ll enter a graduate program in museum studies, where he'll prepare to bring stories of the past to life for a broad audience of museum visitors.

Hometown:

Lexington, Kentucky.

Majors

History and educational studies.

Clubs and organizations:  

Handlebar, Trout Gallery assistant, Kappa Delta Pi and Phi Alpha Theta honor societies, Dana Research Assistant and studio-art department assistant.

Honors/scholarships/awards:

John Montgomery Scholarship and Dean’s List.

The best thing about my Dickinson experience:

The support I received from Dickinson professors and staff has been key in my undergraduate development both academically and professionally! From allowing me to design my own independent study on memorialization of trans-Atlantic slavery to directing me to opportunities at Lamberton Middle School and the Cumberland County Historical society, Dickinson professors have supported me throughout my experience. The staff at The Trout Gallery, especially Jamie Bowman, have provided me with hands-on training in museum work that I do not believe I would have gotten as an undergrad at any other institution.

Favorite book:

The Sport of Kings by C.E. Morgan.

Favorite movie:

The Warriors.

On choosing a major:

Both my history and educational studies majors allow me to communicate narratives to broad audiences. I’ve always had an interest in what stories we hear, how we hear them and how we are shaped by them. I also hold the strong conviction that learning from the past is the best way to prepare for the future.

Favorite place on campus:

The Trout Gallery’s downstairs vault.

Favorite Dining Hall food:

Kove chili.

Favorite class:

My independent study with Associate Professor of History Jeremy Ball on memorialization of the trans-Atlantic slave trade. It was great being able to drive my own research, and Professor Ball was amazing in helping me formulate my ideas into my senior thesis.

As I kid, I wanted to be …

Godzilla.

Favorite learning experience:

Helping to install the Edward Burtynsky show, Water, at The Trout Gallery was an incredible learning moment for me. Since the show came from the New Orleans Museum of Art, I had the opportunity to learn about art shipping and handling, working with professionals from different institutions and installing large-scale pieces. This show allowed me to see a broad picture of how museums deal with loans.

If I could have dinner with anyone, living or dead, it would be …

Wendell Berry, who’s also one of my favorite Kentuckians.

Proudest accomplishment so far:

Biking across America the summer after my sophomore year in high school.

About my internship:

Prior to this year, I worked in collections and exhibits at The Trout Gallery, the Cumberland County Historical Society and Shaker Village at Pleasant Hill. All of my internships have been at smaller institutions, which has allowed me to engage in meaningful, hands-on work. At Shaker Village, I worked on a number of projects, rehousing and reorganizing the collection as well as writing a loan agreement policy for the museum.

This summer I will be an Edward W. Pell Graduate Collections Fellow at Fort Ticonderoga! I’ll be working to catalogue, research and store items discovered on site, as well as make this information available to the public. I actually learned about this fellowship through a Dickinsonian who works on the site.

Post-Dickinson plans:

Directly after Dickinson, I will complete a graduate fellowship at Fort Ticonderoga. I will be attending graduate school for museum studies to pursue my career goal of working in collections or exhibits at a museum or historical site.

Advice for current and future students:

If you are interested in pursuing a career in museums, The Trout Gallery is an amazing place to work!

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Published March 9, 2020