History on Display as Student Present at JD Museum

Jimmy Dean Museum
WBU history students worked with the Jimmy Dean Museum on a history practicum, introducing them to a diversified field of career options for history majors. They will present their practicum results on Dec. 3.

PLAINVIEW – Wayland Baptist University history students are putting their experience on display in a special presentation and reception at the Jimmy Dean Museum on Tuesday Dec. 3. The reception will take place at 5:30 p.m. with a research presentation at 6 p.m. The Museum is located at the corner of 8th and Smythe Streets in Plainview.

History students have been working closely with Dr. Rebekah Crowe, associate professor of history, and Director of Museums Melissa Gonzalez to get a better understanding of museums and the role they play in the preservation of history.

Taught by Dr. Crowe, the students are participating in a special practicum course focusing on “Jimmy Dean Museum Behind the Scenes.” Crowe said the purpose of the practicum is to help students understand that there are career options, aside from teaching, within the field of history. Crowe said there are several specific goals including performing skills necessary to maintain a museum, correlating the practical experience with the theoretical knowledge of the profession, and presenting original research based on their practicum experience.

Gonzalez explained that each student was assigned to a specific display case within the Jimmy Dean Museum. They had to monitor and record the environmental factors that might affect the artifacts. Students then had to make recommendations on how to best preserve the items on display, based on their research. Students were also taught to work with the museum database to gather information on each artifact, and keep a record of activity with each piece.

“They learned the value of [museum] records and why it is so important to track any changes or movements of each and every artifact,” Gonzalez said.

In the process, they learned techniques used to treat and rehouse artifacts along with other skill sets necessary to maintain a museum.

Academically, Crowe explained that each student had to keep a journal of his or her experiences and prepare a presentation. She said the experience has been a positive one and she hopes to continue to build a partnership between the history department and the Wayland museums. Gonzalez also looks forward to the continued partnership.

“My hope is that this practicum will be the beginning of new academic opportunities for the university,” Gonzalez said. “It exposes students to a different career field they may have otherwise never considered.”

Students J.J. Herrera, Margarette Lecker, and Nicholas Pierson will present their research. Admission to the presentation is free of charge and open to the public. The presentations will be followed by a question and answer session and tours of the Jimmy Dean Museum.