Alumna Kenya Bean (BFA - Art '23) brought her education full circle with her internship at the Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies in Banff.

An Art History/Museum Studies major, Kenya was awarded the competitive 12-week internship to further her education and professional interests in the areas of art, heritage and archives.

“I feel like I made the right decision. Being here and seeing everything come together, it's been great. I would recommend this to any Art History/Museum Studies students who are thinking of what to do in the future, they should hop on this opportunity because you get a breadth of experience in one place.”

Connecting her experiences

Kenya’s experience at the Whyte Museum is unique in that she worked with similar artifacts that she helped uncover previously during an excavation trip with the Archaeology & Geography Department.

In 2022, she was part of the University of Lethbridge - Royal Alberta Museum field school at Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump. Under the supervision of Drs. Shawn Bubel (BSc ’96), Kevin McGeough (BA ’96) and Bob Dawe (Royal Alberta Museum), students like Kenya worked directly with Blackfoot interpreters at the Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump Interpretive Centre, who are also collaborators on the project.

The trip gave students a chance to gain hands-on experience with archaeology but also uncover new insights into Indigenous history in the area–like discovering the site was used over 9,000 years ago. Some of the artifacts and ecofacts that Kenya and other students found at the site are similar to the ones that she is now working to process, combining two of her interests of history and art and bringing her experiential learning journey full circle.

“The love I have for history and archaeology can be applied in a place like the Whyte Museum, where not only do they have a heritage collection of artifacts and ecofacts, but they also have a gallery where there's art, and you get to socialize with artists. So, it’s the merging of my two favourite things.”

Building skills for her future

While in her internship, Kenya has been gaining skills in a variety of different areas. From cataloguing artifacts to leading an art installation, she says she’s learning things she can apply in other areas of her career in the future.

“Currently, I am trying to identify, label and catalogue lithic objects such arrowheads, atlatl heads, scrapers, a whole bunch of stuff. I’ve seen the same projectile points that we had been unearthing and looking at and observing last summer here in the museum. So, I thought, let's give these some names.”

Kenya is bringing all facets of her learning to her chosen career and is making an impact both in and outside of her studies.

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