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

FILM - Out of State Saturday, December 09 | 1 p.m.-4 p.m.
The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, 4525 Oak St. Kansas City, MO
In 2007, the state of Hawaii outsourced the care of roughly 2,000 male prisoners to a private, for-profit prison in Arizona. Exiled thousands of miles from their island home, a group of indigenous Hawaiian inmates have discovered their calling on the inside: teaching each other their native language and dances. As several of the men complete their sentences, the film follows them as they reintegrate in Hawaii. Out of State explores questions of cultural and religious identity; the overabundance of native Hawaiians and minorities in the prison system; the cycle of criminal behavior and its impact on the family; and prisoner entitlement. Join us for a moderated discussion led by Native-Hawaiian filmmaker and Out of State’s director, Ciara Lacy, and member of the Osage Nation, Jimmy Lee Beason II, M.S.W.

Meet the Experts: Christmas Crèches​
Sunday, December 10 | 2 p.m.-3 p.m.
The National Museum of Toys/Miniatures, 5235 Oak St. Kansas City, MO
Get to know the experts at The National Museum of Toys and Miniatures through this monthly exploration of special topics. On December 10, enjoy special displays of Christmas crèches from the Bud and Jan Koupal Collection. Hear a talk about the history and tradition of holiday crèches, and stay afterward for cider and cookies. The program includes a lecture and museum visit. Included with museum admission.

TALK - Civic Leader and Art Collector: Sallie Casey Thayer and an Art Museum for KU
Thursday, December 14 | 10 a.m.-11 a.m.
Spencer Museum of Art, Gallery 317 Sam and Connie Perkins Central Court, 1301 Mississippi St.
A hundred years ago, Kansas City philanthropist Sallie Casey Thayer donated her extensive collection to the KU, forming the basis for what is today the Spencer Museum of Art’s collection. Celka Straughn, Director of Academic Programs, discusses this eclectic collection, from Japanese prints and American paintings to sumptuous textiles, ancient artifacts, and even valentines. This series of informal gallery talks is designed for senior citizens but open to everyone.

TALK - Slow Art Sunday: Presepio 
Sunday, December 17 | 2 p.m.-3 p.m.
Spencer Museum of Art, Gallery 317 Sam and Connie Perkins Central Court, 1301 Mississippi St.
Slow down at the Spencer and spend time getting to know one great work of art. Slow Art Sunday features one work for visitors to contemplate and converse about with Museum staff. In December, get to know our 18th-century Italian Presepio.

TALK - Home for the Holidays 
Sunday, December 24 | 12 p.m.-1 p.m.
Spencer Museum of Art, 1301 Mississippi St.
Every year, Spencer Museum Director Saralyn Reece Hardy spends an afternoon in the galleries welcoming visitors and leading informal tours to celebrate the holiday season. This year's tour centers on the origins of the Museum and collecting and sharing art as a form of civic engagement. Tours begin at 12pm and 1pm. Join us and make this Spencer Museum tradition your own. These tours are presented in conjunction with the centennial celebration of the Museum’s collection.

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