Erik Radowski, Class of 2015

Erik Radowski wearing mid-1800s military dressNothing quite compares to working with the thunder of artillery overhead and the chants of marching soldiers outside. A career on an active military installation would be interesting in any field, but it provides unique challenges and opportunities to someone in the museum field. I have been working at the Fort Sill National Historic Landmark and Museum for the past year as a museum technician.

Erik Radowski working with an artifact at the Fort Sill National Historic Landmark and MuseumLocated an hour southwest of Oklahoma City, Fort Sill is the home of the United States Army’s Field Artillery and Air Defense Artillery branches. Interestingly, this post has been in constant use by the Army since its founding 

in 1869, and my museum operates 38 historic buildings, 36 of which are nearly 150 years old. Our collection consists of military artifacts from the Dragoon Expedition of 1834 through modern times, and we are the repository for the Department of the Army’s Native American collection.

Initially, I was hired to be the museum’s archivist, overseeing the storage, arrangement, access, and preservation of the nearly 100,000 documents, photographs, and books in the collection. For eight months, I responded to research requests, revamped the archive’s location system, and rehoused several major collections. Recently, I was able to transition into another position at the museum working with the artifact collection and exhibits. I immediately began assisting with the design, construction, artifact preparation, and installation of our exhibit on the 100th anniversary of the United States’ entry into World War I.

Erik Radowski in period military dress and standing next to a 19th-century cannon

Since I now work within two different departments, I am constantly running around our various buildings and working on several different projects at a time. I assist with inventories, rehousing projects, small displays, interpretive changes, and tours. While our main mission is to educate soldiers about the Army’s heritage and the history of Fort Sill, we continue to engage the public though living history events, in which I have eagerly participated. In the future, I hope to develop more displays on lesser-known parts of Fort Sill’s history all while continuing the stewardship of our large and diverse artifact collection.

On a personal note, I have been married for nearly two years to my lovely Jayhawk wife, Kathleen (b’12), and while it was difficult moving away from our family and friends both in Nebraska and Kansas, we are definitely better for it. We have brought our Jayhawk spirit to the Sooner State, and are extremely grateful to both be utilizing our KU educations and working in the fields that we love!Erik Radowski and his wife Kathleen at a KU-Oklahoma State basketball game in Stilwater, Oklahoma

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Museum Events

German-American History Talk and Gallery Tour
Saturday, October 21 | 2 p.m.-3:30 p.m.
Watkins Museum of History, 1047 Massachusetts St.
Prof. William Keel of KU speaks on local German-American history, then we move to the third floor for a special tour of our new exhibit Community and Culture: The Lawrence Turnverein, with Watkins curator Brittany Keegan and Dr. Lorie Vanchena of KU.

My Name is Sallie Performance
October 25-26 | 7 p.m.-8 p.m.
Spencer Museum of Art, Gallery 317, Sam & Connie Perkins Central Court
This experimental, immersive musical theater experience tells the story of the founding gift of art to the University of Kansas that became the Spencer Museum of Art. Created by Spencer Archivist Robert Hickerson and featuring the talents of artists and students from across the community. The performance is a free special preview event and part of the centennial celebration of our collection. Tickets are available through Eventbrite

Science of the Macabre
Thursday, October 26 | 7 p.m.-9 p.m.
KU Natural History Museum, 1345 Jayhawk Blvd. 
Join us for a spooky night in the KU Natural History Museum as we celebrate Halloween. From spiders and snakes to parasites, we will explore the science of the creepy things that go bump in the night. See museum specimens, explore blood under black light, and enjoy free refreshments and win prizes.

Stories from the Museum Archives: Sallie Casey Thayer Collects
Sunday, November 5 | 2 p.m.-3 p.m.
Spencer Museum of Art, Rm 305, Stephen H. Goddard Study Center 
Spencer Museum archivist Robert Hickerson and student assistant Rose Wolf open up the archives for an exploration of primary resources that document the collection that initiated an art museum at KU. Presented in conjunction with the exhibition Civic Leader and Art Collector: Sallie Casey Thayer and an Art Museum for KU and the Museum’s centennial celebration of our collection.

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