GRADUCon 2018 - Careers in Museums and Cultural Institutions Panel


Are you interested in a career in museums or cultural institutions where you can bring your knowledge and expertise to a public audience? A wide range of career possibilities exist for graduate students in both the sciences and the humanities, including exhibition management, audience research and analysis, marketing and communications, and advancement and development. This interdisciplinary panel will feature four alumni currently working at museums and cultural institutions in Chicago, including the Chicago Children’s Choir, the DANK Haus German American Cultural Center, the Field Museum, and the Smart Museum of Art. The panelists will discuss the diverse roles that exist in museums and cultural institutions and provide practical advice for graduate students interested in pursuing a career in the field.


Rachel Lurie, Associate Director of Institutional Advancement, Chicago Children’s Choir (MA Humanities 2012)

Rachel Lurie is the Associate Director of Institutional Advancement at Chicago Children’s Choir. In this role, she manages the organization’s Raising Voices Campaign, a 3-year, $12 million comprehensive fundraising initiative, and oversees the organization’s grants portfolio. She holds a BA in English and Philosophy from Kalamazoo College and an MA in Humanities from the University of Chicago

Patience Baach, Audience Insights and Research Manager, The Field Museum (M.A. Social Sciences 2013)

Originally from the Washington DC area, Patience Baach has been in Chicago for the past 10 years. Patience comes from a cultural anthropology background, receiving her Master’s degree in the Social Sciences from the University of Chicago and her undergraduate degree in Anthropology from Northwestern University. Patience is the Manager of the Audience Insights & Research team at the Field Museum, where she and her team conduct research and evaluation across the institution. In her current role, Patience works with designers and developers to make exhibitions and exhibition components more accessible to the visitor and collaborates with a variety of stakeholders across the museum including Marketing, Communications, and Education to better understand our visitors and their needs. Patience is on the Board for the Visitors Studies Association (VSA) and is a member of the American Evaluation Association.

Monica Felix, Museum and Collections Manager, DANK Haus German American Cultural Center (PhD Comparative Literature 2017)

Monica Felix is the Museum & Collections Manager at the DANK Haus German American Cultural Center in Chicago. Among her recent exhibitions are the 90th Anniversary Exhibit attending to the life and work of German-American architect Paul Gerhardt, Sr. as well as the 2018 Culture Bridge/Kulturbruecke exhibition featuring over 50 artists, poets, painters, dancers, and sculptors. Her current projects include facilitating the preservation and digitization of the “Eintracht” German-language newspaper published in Illinois from 1922-2017. She also plans to spearhead an Oral History Project with the aim of recording interviews with post-WWII generation German-Americans for a digital archive. Since taking up her role in October 2017, her responsibilities have expanded to include grant writing and fundraising. Monica received a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from the University of Chicago in 2017.

C.J. Lind, Associate Director of Communications, Smart Museum of Art (M.A. Humanities 2005)

C.J. Lind is the Associate Director of Communications at the University of Chicago’s Smart Museum of Art. In this capacity, he oversees the museum’s marketing, social media, and publicity efforts. He has also co-led collaborative communications projects for University-wide initiatives ranging from a festival of Chinese art to a series of Fluxus-inspired happenings around a Cadillac encased in concrete. He has been at the Smart since 2005. He holds an MA in Humanities from the University of Chicago


Alice Goff, Assistant Professor of German History, University of Chicago (PhD UC Berkeley 2015)

I am a historian of German cultural and intellectual life in the modern period, with a particular focus on the nineteenth century. My research and teaching center on the history of art and politics, museums, cultural preservation, and the history of the humanities in German states and in the relationship between Germany and the world. I am currently at work on a manuscript with the working title, “The God Behind the Marble: Transcendence and the Art Object in the German Aesthetic State, 1794–1848.” The book tells the story of artworks caught up in the looting, iconoclasm, and shifting boundaries of German states during the French Revolution and Napoleonic wars and the consequences of these upheavals for German political, religious, and intellectual practice at the beginning of the nineteenth century. By examining the shifting fortunes of private collections, public museums, and church treasuries, this work examines the frictions that arose between the precarious fates of artworks on the ground and the assertions of art’s ideal autonomy in philosophy and criticism. I have also begun research on a related project that takes up the historical legacy of the German monarchies in the German Democratic Republic. I am focused in particular on the preservation of the royal collections of the Saxon kings in Dresden after 1945 and the enrollment of this heritage into the cultural political programs of the east German state through the postwar period. I received my PhD in history from the University of California, Berkeley, in 2015. From 2015 to 2017 I was a postdoctoral fellow in the University of Michigan’s Society of Fellows in the departments of History and Germanic Languages and Literatures. Before beginning graduate work in history, I completed a master’s degree in archives and records management and a certificate in museum studies, and I maintain an active interest in contemporary archival and curatorial practice. My work has been supported by the Council for Library and Information Resources, the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), the German Historical Institute, and the Mabelle McLeod Lewis Foundation.