Faculty

Whitney Baker
Head, Conservation Services, KU Libraries

Whitney Baker received her MLS with an Advanced Certificate in Library and Archives Conservation from the University of Texas at Austin. She completed her undergraduate work at KU (BA Chemistry and Spanish), and has held the post of Conservator for KU Libraries since 2002.  She previously worked in conservation at the Library of Congress and the University of Kentucky.

Baker teaches MUSE 706, Conservation Principles and Practices, for the Museum Studies program.

Tashia Dare, lecturer in the KU Museum Studies Program.
Lecturer
Bailey Hall, room 303C

Tashia Dare has been a lecturer at KU since 2015. She received her master's in religious studies, focusing on the ancient Near East and Mediterranean, and a graduate certificate in peace and conflict studies from KU. She also holds a bachelor's in art history from KU. Her research interests include the affects of armed conflict on cultural heritage, specifically museums and archaeological sites, and issues related to the trafficking of antiquities. Prior to working in higher education Tashia spent more than six years working in museums.

Robert Keckeisen
Former Director, Kansas Museum of History

Robert Keckeisen was the director of the Kansas Museum of History in Topeka for more than 30 years. He holds an M.A. in history from Wichita State University. Keckeisen teaches MUSE 701 Museum Management for the Museum Studies program.

Brittany Keegan
Curator-Collections Manager

Brittany holds a B.A. in American History and an M.A. in Museum Studies both from the University of Kansas. She has been working with the Watkins Community Museum of History collections and exhibits in various capacities since 2007. In addition to managing the collections, Brittany coordinates volunteers and maintains the Museum’s research resources.

Brittany teaches MUSE 704, Museum Collection Management, for the Museum Studies program.

Elizabeth Kowalchuk
Associate Professor
785-864-8218
Chalmers Hall, room 320

Liz Kowalchuk is an Associate Professor with a joint appointment in the Visual Art Department and the Museum Studies Program.  She formerly served as the Associate Dean of the School of the Arts. With degrees in drawing and painting (BFA, University of Georgia), painting (MFA, University of Illinois), and art education (PhD, Ohio State University), her research interests center on how the arts and museums function in communities, create a sense of place, and contribute to civic engagement.  In her creative endeavors, she makes useful things from recycled and found materials. She teaches MUSE 301 and graduate seminars focusing on education and local museums.

Steve Nowak
Executive Director, Watkins Community Museum of History

Steve joined the staff at the Watkins Museum in February 2011. He has had a 25-year career in museum work, with experience in collections management, exhibition development, public programming, and education. His background is in American art, history, and material culture. In addition to his management responsibilities, Steve looks forward to developing public programs, increasing museum involvement with schools and teachers, and working with members of the Douglas County Historical Society.

Steve co-teaches MUSE 704 Museum Collection Management and teaches Museum Audience Development for the Museum Studies program.

Sandra Olsen
Professor of Museum Studies, Senior Curator of Archaeology, Biodiversity Institute
785-864-6511
Spooner Hall, room 6E

Professor Olsen is an Old World Prehistorian, specializing in zooarchaeology, the study of animal remains from ancient sites, and Arabian rock art. She was formerly the director of the Center for World Cultures at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History.

Head shot of Dr. Rachel Straughn-Navarro, Museum Studies lecturer.
Freeman K-12 State Outreach Coordinator, Spencer Museum of Art

Rachel Straughn-Navarro is the Freeman K-12 state outreach coordinator for the Spencer Museum of Art. She has a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction in art education from the University of Missouri, with emphases in museum studies and information science & learning technology, as well as an M.A. in classical archaeology. She also has served as the Kress interpretive fellow for the Spencer, and in assistant museum educator and assistant curator roles for the Museum of Art and Archaeology at MU. In 2017, Rachel was named museum art educator of the year by the Missouri Art Education Association. She teaches MUSE 705 Introduction to Museum Public Education.

Dr. Peter H. Welsh
Director & Professor of Museum Studies
785-864-5702
Lippincott Hall, room 6

Professor Welsh's research has addressed a range of issues including the historical and legal background by which museums have come to control culturally sensitive objects; the public representation and interpretation of culture; and concerns over the sustainability of local history museums. He has worked with native cultures in Wyoming and the Southwest, and has conducted archaeological research in Arizona and China.  He earned his PhD at the University of Pennsylvania.


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Find out what KU's Museum Studies Program and our alumni are up to:

January 2019 Newsletter
September 2017 Newsletter
January 2017 Newsletter