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.

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.

Mary Madden
Director, Kansas Museum of History

Mary Madden is the director of both the Museum and Education for the Kansas Historical Society in Topeka. She has more than 25 years of experience in the field of museum education and interpretation. Mary holds an M.A. in American Studies from the University of Kansas. She teaches MUSE 705 Introduction to Museum Public Education.

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.

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.

Sherry Williams
Curator of Collections and Curator of the Kansas Collection, Spencer Research Library

Sherry Williams is Curator of the Kansas Collection in the Spencer Research Library at the University of Kansas. She holds an MLIS from the University of Oklahoma. Williams teaches MUSE 707, Practical Archival Principles, for the Museum Studies program.


Read the latest MUSE News!

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

September 2017 Newsletter
January 2017 Newsletter
 

 

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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