Ripon education paves way for career in museum work for Amy Fels ’17
Undergraduate studies at Ripon College and a student internship at an area museum helped prepare Amy Fels ’17 for her current position.
Fels now is the archivist at the Oshkosh Public Museum. “My work as an archivist entails many things, and no day is exactly alike,” Fels says. Her job includes cataloging archival materials, handling research and photoduplication requests, and contributing to the museum’s quarterly publication and outreach efforts.
“At the moment, our team is planning two new permanent exhibits, which involves a lot of collaborative meetings and research,” she says. “Being an archivist requires a lot of creative thinking, problem-solving and adaptability.”
At Ripon, Fels majored in history with minors in nonprofit management and English. These all provided tools for her to be a better archivist and helped her to grow into a more empathetic and open-minded person — “which is vital at a local public museum like the Oshkosh Public Museum, where we are responsible for preserving and telling the stories of a dynamic, diverse community,” Fels says.
Fels also had the opportunity to complete an internship with the Oshkosh Public Museum which provided her first opportunity to experience what it is like to work in a museum. Based on this experience, she knew she wanted to work somewhere like this with a small, intimate community similar to what she had had at Ripon.
The internship also gave her a jump start on her graduate school studies because it gave her first-hand experience with the archival concepts and methodologies she would learn about to better understand how archives operate and why they are important. She earned a master’s degree in history and library and information studies from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
“I am very aware of the fact that what materials we collect in our archives and how we provide access to them affects the way we understand the history of Oshkosh and the surrounding area, now and in the future,” Fels says.
From her first visit to Ripon, Fels says she knew this was where she wanted to go to school because it felt like home. She says the most rewarding part of her education here is the connections she made. She keeps in touch with faculty mentors with whom she became friends, as well as with former cross country and track teammates with whom “some of my most challenging and joyful college moments were spent,” Fels says.
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