Museum Exhibition Planning and Design Graduate Student Wins National Fellowship

Second award in six years for a University of the Arts student

March 16, 2010

Sarah Asper-Smith (below), a first-year graduate student in the Museum Exhibition Planning + Design (MEPD) program at the University of the Arts, recently received one of two student fellowships awarded to attend the 2010 American Association of Museums (AAM) annual meeting in Los Angeles May 23 - 26.

This fellowship comes from the National Association for Museum Exhibitions (NAME), an 800+ member standing professional committee of the AAM. The fellowship will include conference registration, a $500 travel stipend and attendance to NAME events with a NAME mentor. This marks the second time in the six years of the award that an MEPD student from the University of the Arts has won.

"I am thrilled to have won the fellowship and eagerly anticipate attending the conference," said Asper-Smith, who is from Alaska, where she plans to return after graduation. "I know that attending AAM conferences will be more difficult for me when I am back in Alaska, though I do want to go whenever possible. I look forward to meeting many people who will become lifelong colleagues and mentors. I am grateful for this fabulous opportunity."

Having earned her undergraduate degree in art history from Earlham College (Ind.), Asper-Smith worked in 2-D and graphic design after college, but her interest in museums propelled her toward exhibition design. She interned with the Alaska State Museum and was employed by the Alaskan museum exhibition firm Banghart and Associates, where she worked on two exhibitions: “Inupiaq: The People of Whaling” at the Inupiat Heritage Center in Barrow, Alaska, and a display of Native Alaskan art at the Anchorage International Airport. She also curated “91 Miles to Ride: Juneau’s Biker Culture” for the Juneau Douglas City Museum, for which she researched, designed and installed the exhibition about Juneau’s biker culture.

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