3 Questions with Kareal Amenumey, ’21, National Museum of African American History and Culture

Welcome to “3 Questions with …”, a recurring feature on the Career Center blog. We’re asking alumni of all graduation years and career interests to share a bit of their experiences and advice. 

Kareal Amenumey, ’21, Full-time Research and Story Development Intern in the Center for the Study of Global Slavery at the National Museum of African American History and Culture

1. In just a few sentences, please tell us about your current job/graduate program/vocational endeavor.

As a full-time research and story development intern in the Center for the Study of Global Slavery at the National Museum of African American History and Culture, I conduct document and archival research for the upcoming, internationally traveling exhibition “In Slavery’s Wake: Slavery, Freedom, and the Making of Our World”. Inspired by Christina Sharpe and Saidyia Hartman’s works, my team’s research and story development focus on contemporary manifestations of Slavery’s legacy. We elucidate the past in the present–drawing out the ways that racial slavery and colonialism have and continue to shape our world. I am currently developing a story about mining industries and the cycles of resource and labor exploitation that under develop Black nations and communities in Africa, South America, and the Caribbean. I meet with contributing curators, museum education specialists, and exhibition designers to translate these deeply complicated and rich stories into exhibition material (museum labels for objects, digital material such as videos and audio, installations, and interactives) that can resonate, challenge, and inspire broad audiences. My experiences thus far have been truly interdisciplinary, and a balance of self-directed and collaborative work which is exactly the kind of environment I was seeking.

2. How did your time at Tufts influence your career journey?

I was sent the application for this opportunity through Handshake by my friend and fellow 2021 graduate. The description of the role was exactly the kind of work I was looking to do— research and museum exhibition development in a public humanities capacity. Luckily my undergraduate research experience and application material spoke very much to the content of the upcoming exhibit and to the broader work of CSGS. It was an unexpected perfect match.

3. What advice would you offer to a student who wants to pursue a career path like yours?

Apply! If you are interested in museum work— curatorial, design, research, archival, etc.—  an internship at the Smithsonian is a great opportunity to explore those budding (or established) interests and build connections with interns and museum professionals. There are many interns across departments from such different backgrounds in levels of experience so there is so much to learn from each other. Everyone I’ve interacted with in my department and in the fellowship and internship team at NMAAHC are deeply committed to helping you make the most of your internship. There are opportunities for internship extensions (which I have greatly benefited from) and the potential to return to your team as a contracted worker. The Smithsonian is also huge on professional development and I recently got to attend a session about artificial intelligence and archives, which has led me to new interests. I’ve had a wonderful experience here and can imagine that other people interested in public humanities, curation, research, and exhibition design (among other things related to the museum) would get a lot out of working at the SI museums.

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By Sheryl Rosenberg
Sheryl Rosenberg Associate Director