The Museum of Culture and Environment: through Carson Black’s eyes

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Carson Black

Museum Selfie Day: Hilarious Museum Selfie Day that Black did not know even existed which portrays all four of the museum staff members.

Justin Zabel , Staff Reporter

Second year grad assistant Carson Black, who majored in the primate and ecology program, spoke on what CWU’s Museum of Culture and Environment is all about, including information on the museum being open with new guidelines during the pandemic. 

Black was offered the graduate assistantship a couple weeks after the 2020-2021 academic school year was in session, and students were getting settled back in Ellensburg. However, she has been working for the museum since October 2019. 

She accepted the offer because she had never worked for a museum, and knew it was an opportunity she could not pass up. She said she has many quarters of field experience, but nothing like this. 

“I thought doing something different than student teaching as a graduate student would be a good opportunity to expand my outreach abilities, and also make more connections on campus and in the community,” Black said. 

COVID-19 has shut down many businesses; however, that did not stop the staff of the Museum of Culture and Environment from working to educate students and the community. The gallery has stayed open. There can be six people in the gallery at once, but those six people have to be from the same household. Masks are required, especially since the museum is on CWU campus, where the mask requirement applies to the entire grounds. 

“Outside the museum, there is a contact tracing list, which is optional, but you can put your name and your student email and your phone number just in case we need to do any contact tracing,” Black said. 

Last year, Black spearheaded the Craft Saturdays events that the museum used to be able to put on, however, they can no longer do them there. Now, the museum has transitioned to doing ideas called CWU Science Stories, where they highlight professors and the work they’ve done on campus. Grad assistants also record science experiments for community members and students to engage with.

The goal Black has for visitors to the museum would be “to broaden their horizons.” Many community members may not know that the museum is open to not only the campus, but also the public.

 “When people come in and see these exhibits, it opens their eyes to the rich cultures and experiences of the people in the area,” Black said. “And that they can leave and know that we’re there, and we’re excited about being open, and there is a lot of potential in that gallery.” 

Black said she never thought she would be a part of something so special. Being able to make connections for over a year and a half, she never would have imagined the work she has done for the community of Ellensburg and CWU. She said that she hopes for her future that she will be able to make an impact on whatever community she is part of, because that is one of the major qualities she has learned from working at the museum.

“I’m not looking forward to leaving when I finish my master’s degree in the spring,” Black said.