Child’s love for museum grows into career

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Sean Conklin works as an assistant curator at the Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts at St. Bonaventure University.

Sean Conklin ’11 (museum studies/new media publishing) remembers visiting the Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts at St. Bonaventure University as a kid growing up in Allegany, N.Y.

“It was nice to have this hidden gem in the middle of New York,” he says.

Now he’s making sure that gem stays polished as the assistant curator of the museum. Conklin, who completed a co-op and then was hired right after graduation, uses his art skills and technology background in all aspects of his job.

On the technology side, this includes incorporating QR codes into exhibits for visitors to find more information and promoting those exhibits on social media.

On the art side, Conklin does everything from collecting to conservation and storage. He recently made ornaments for a Christmas tree in the museum that celebrates New York state. One ornament uses photos to show Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts stretched across the New York City skyline.

One of his biggest exhibits in 2012 showcased Broadway and television sets designed by three-time Emmy Award winner Ray Klausen. On Broadway, Klausen designed Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, On Golden Pond and Burn the Floor, among many others. He also designed sets for The Academy Awards, The Tony Awards, The Emmy Awards and The Grammy Awards. Conklin met with Klausen, selected the sets and then reconstructed them at the museum.

Conklin says he is thankful he took a museum collections class at RIT and found this career path. (He originally enrolled in it so he could visit a museum free each week.) The job is a perfect fit for his degree.

“Museums need people with passion—both cultural and technical,” he says.

Editor’s Note: Our apologies to Sean Conklin, who appeared in the winter 2012-2013 RIT: The University Magazine In Memoriam list. As you can see by the story, he is alive and doing well.