Briana Wiley has spent the last year interning and volunteering with the Museum, first as a Cultural Resources intern and now, a volunteer. Learn more about how she got involved with the Museum!
Hi! Please introduce yourself and tell us about your involvement with the Museum.
Hello! My name is Briana and I was an intern, and am now a volunteer for the Cultural Resources department.
What drew you to volunteer/intern at the Museum of Man? What’s your favorite part about volunteering with Cultural Resources?
I started interning at San Diego’s Museum of Man in July 2018 on the Textile Integrated Pest Management Project. I was lucky enough to hear that help was needed for this project from the Association of Anthropology Students at San Diego State University and quickly applied. At this point in time, I had only been an Anthropology major for about one year and wanted some hands-on experience outside of the classroom. I received just that! My favorite part about volunteering with Cultural Resources is that there are days where there is a lot of repetition and then suddenly there’s a day that surprises you with something different and exciting. During the fall, I was able to help rehouse a ceremonial skirt.
Besides gaining experience and improving my skills, I am able to see what it’s like to work behind the scenes at the Museum and look into a possible career path. My supervisors are always teaching me new, easier ways to do the things they have already taught me. I feel like they have been great teachers, first teaching me the basics and then showing me ways to save time and have more options. I liked that I would be able to help make decisions as well.
What is your favorite exhibit, and why?
My favorite exhibit has to be Cannibals: Myth & Reality because cannibalism is somewhat of a taboo topic that makes people uncomfortable, but they may be secretly interested in learning about it. The Museum’s exhibit gives them an opportunity to learn. I love that it’s hands-on, informative, and still enjoyable for the viewer.
What do you enjoy most about volunteering at the Museum?
Volunteering at the Museum of Man has led to a rewarding opportunity to engage in continuous learning. As to the question of what my future career will be, I have gained exposure through new experiences and am finally coming closer to answering that.
What do you do when you’re not volunteering?
When I started volunteering, outside of the Museum I would go to school and work. I also became Vice President of the Association of Anthropology Students, which was a nice opportunity. When those responsibilities were over, I would try to find time with family and friends and get out of the house for a while. Now that I’ve graduated, I’m trying to enjoy postgrad life and my summer.
How can someone start volunteering at the Museum?
Volunteer opportunities are posted on the website, so it’s a good idea to keep an eye on the page. Sometimes, like in my experience, you can find out through word of mouth from current volunteers and employees.