Night at the (Art) Museum


A snapshot of the PMA I took my sophomore year… it was neat to return as a senior and speak with the people who make the exhibits possible!

What does this Bryn Mawr senior do on the Friday night before Halloween? Spend the evening at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, of course! One of the highlights of my semester has been taking a course called “The Curator in the Museum”, the first class offered by our new Museum Studies program. As a senior, I wish I had more time to explore and learn about the field, but I am happy to know that BMC and Monique Scott, the director, are developing such a unique and incredible program. Dr. Scott teaches the course I am currently in and I’ve fallen in love with the field so much I’ve already put her next course, “Museum Anthropology” on my enrollment list for next semester!

As part of our course, we visit different museums to gain a practical understanding and see how the theory we are studying in class appears in real life. Last Monday we visited the Penn Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology and this Friday, we found ourselves at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. After a highlights tour, we had the opportunity to speak with employees of the museum who worked in community outreach and curating. This element of our class is my favorite because it is so informative and an awesome opportunity to speak with the people who make the exhibits we see and admire possible.


Dance students from a local university perform a piece inspired by a Dia de los Muertos exhibit at the Museum

Every Friday, the PMA offers programming called “Art After 5” centered around a theme related to current events, exhibitions, and public interest. Since it was the Friday before Halloween, they threw a Halloween Bash! Art After 5 is a unique way to draw people into the museum while creating an atmosphere that is completely different than what a patron would find during regular business hours. They had themed cocktail and snack offerings, a DJ and dance floor, and two presentations by local university students.

We decided to stay after our class to see what it was like, and I’m so glad we did. My favorite parts of the evening were the presentations inspired by pieces of art in the museum. They provided an excellent way to connect my museum experience during the day to this special one after hours. In the picture above for example, students performed a piece inspired by a Dia de los Muertos exhibit. The dancers started the dance remaining still off to the side while actors portrayed a museum guide and young man on a tour. The guide explained to the man that he should keep his eyes open because pieces of the exhibit had been rumored to come alive. As the man was writing in a notebook, one of the dancers placed herself right in front of him, scaring the young man, and causing him to run away. The dancers then came to life and performed a beautiful piece.


An art-inspired fashion show by Philadelphia University students

During the second half of the evening, fashion design students from Philadelphia University showcased hat and purses they created with each also being inspired by a work in the museum that struck them. They had to use unusual materials to create their products, so students used everything from twigs to flashing lights to chicken bones (yes, chicken bones!) to make their projects. It was so fun to hear the students explain how their hats and bags were influenced by the paintings and to see the models wearing them proudly.

All in all, it was a very fun way to spend Friday evening and a great compliment to my class experience and learning. Check out my Instagram and Twitter throughout the weekend to see how the rest of Halloween went!

#37 See a Movie at the Bryn Mawr Film Institute

IMG_8142I’m not quite sure how, but I managed to make it to my senior year without seeing a movie at the Bryn Mawr Film Institute, an independent and community operated theater founded by a BMC alumna. Knowing I had it left on my bucket list, I bookmarked the Institute’s website at the beginning of the year and checked their schedule every so often. Last weekend I checked their calendar and was ecstatic to discover they had added four screenings of “He Named Me Malala” to their line up. I had been dying to see it, and since the only screening in the Philadelphia area was over Fall Break, I had become disappointed I would not have the opportunity to see it during its limited release. Thankfully, I was able to make one of the screenings at the Film Institute, and last Wednesday I finally saw my first film at the BMFI. It could not have been a more perfect one.

IMG_8138“He Named Me Malala” tells the story of Malala Yousafzai, the incredibly powerful young woman who, with the help and encouragement of her father, used her voice to tell the world that young girls deserve to be educated. Targeted by the Taliban for her advocacy, they made an attempt on her life in 2012. Beating the odds, she survived the attack, and in the years since, she has raised her voice even higher, becoming a champion for young girls all over the world. Now a Nobel Peace Prize winner for her extraordinarily selfless work, the documentary shows a mix of footage highlighting both her efforts fighting for girls’ education and scenes of her playing and laughing with her family. In between, beautifully drawn animations tell stories from the past to help explain how Malala and her family arrived where they are in their lives today.

IMG_8139To say the film was powerful would be an understatement. Watching and listening to Malala and her father speak about their work and motivations left me in awe. There were multiple moments throughout the documentary that left audience members teary eyed by showing how forgiving, kind, and truly selfless Malala is. She has such a passion and love for her home country of Pakistan and girls’ education that it is contagious. I believe everybody should see and learn about her story. If you are interested in learning more about this inspiring young woman, or would like to join her campaign to educate girls all over the world, you can find more information at:

“It is so hard to get things done in this world. You try and too often it doesn’t work. But you have to continue. And you never give up.” — Malala Yousafzai in “He Named Me Malala”


In Las Vegas we… go to museums?

For many students, Fall Break comes at the perfect time. About half way through the semester, homework, midterms, and extracurriculars have been keeping us busy and by this point, we are all in need of a breather. This break found me and two of my best friends in Las Vegas for some desperately needed relaxation and girl time. Senior year, while exciting, has been hectic and we were all ready to have some fun and leave our planners behind for the week.


The Neon Boneyard in Las Vegas, Nevada

Our first day in the city of neon and bright lights was spent admiring just that… the signs that made Las Vegas the cultural icon it is today. The Neon Museum is located just 20 minutes away from the strip in the downtown area. Our tour began during the heat of the day at noon and as all of the pieces are exhibited outside, we definitely got our dose of Vitamin D! It was fascinating to see all of the signage and remnants from the city’s past. Our tour guide was fantastic and gave us significant historical facts about the different hotels and casinos the signs came from and it was awesome to learn about the city’s founding before exploring it ourselves over the next few days. After the Neon Museum we made our way to the National Museum of Organized Crime and Law Enforcement. I think it’s the Bryn Mawr in us… learning doesn’t just stop because we go on vacation!


Inside the Bellagio’s Botanical Garden

We spent Sunday at our hotel’s pool soaking up the sun and relaxing in the cool water. The weather in Bryn Mawr was beginning to become chilly and so the dry heat was definitely appreciated. Monday morning brought us to the Strip where we walked up and down the row of incredible hotels, attractions, and shops. According to an app on my phone, we walked over 25,000 steps that day! We walked through the luxury shops at Caesar’s Palace and were in awe of the architecture that surrounded us everywhere we went. I have to say the Bellagio had the most beautiful interior with their botanical gardens decorated for the fall season with warm colored flowers and giant pumpkins. We then made our way back to the hotel and got ready for dinner.

12144710_10205075537670104_7801690509009651373_nAfter a summer of binge-watching MasterChef and MasterChef Junior, I was a happy camper Monday night when we ate at Gordon Ramsay’s Pub and Grill inside of Caesar’s Palace. The only thing that could have made it better would have been if Gordon had been there himself! The food was absolutely incredible and I can only imagine how delicious his other restaurants are. I guess I’ll just have to go to all of them to confirm! He has four just in Las Vegas including a steak restaurant in Paris Paris. That one is definitely on my list to visit the next time we come to town.


Just hanging out on the rim of the Grand Canyon… nbd.

I’d have to say the highlight of my break was on Tuesday when we took a day-trip to the Grand Canyon National Park. Seeing the Grand Canyon was on my personal bucket list and I cannot begin to describe how majestic, serene, and magnificent it was. Words are simply not adequate. To see something so much larger than us, made by the force of nature, and containing such beauty was an absolutely meaningful experience that I can’t really compare to anything else I’ve ever witnessed. I would love to go back and actually hike from rim to rim as well as white water raft through the canyon. We’ll see how adventurous I am in the future!

We spent our last night in Las Vegas making an elementary school aged dream of ours come true by seeing Britney Spears in concert at Planet Hollywood. While I have to admit I was doubtful the show would live up to my circa 2001 expectations, her show was stylistically and musically so cool! When she sang “Oops I Did It Again”, “Ba12115767_10205085036827577_3461082386324415742_nby One More Time”, and “Lucky” I swear I was transported back to my CD playing, CD album toting first grade days. I can vividly remember watching a DVD of one of her concerts on repeat when I was about 7 while singing into a hairbrush as a microphone. It was such a nice throwback and a perfect way to end our week in Las Vegas.

Our seven days off of school went by completely too quickly, but we had the time of our lives and made so many memories in the process. Top it off with a visit from a very dear friend this weekend and it all made for an unbelievable week. Now it’s back to reality and back to the grind, but this break will be the push to get us through to Thanksgiving and Winter Breaks!

Throwback Tuesday

For Fall Break, my best friends and I came to Las Vegas (more about that next week!) The traveling and sight-seeing we’ve been doing reminded me of my time abroad in Edinburgh, Scotland and how much I missed having adventures everyday. One of my favorite things about being a study abroad coordinator for Bryn Mawr is being able to relive the process and excitement with each of the students I meet and get to advise.


Me and a Hairy Coo in the Scottish Highlands

When I think back a year and a half to when I was in the middle of deciding to study abroad, I remember being unsure and anxious. I couldn’t imagine being away from Bryn Mawr, which had become my second home. At first, I thought of it as a semester that I would miss out on at BMC, a semester without my best friends, and a semester across an ocean from everything I knew. Being on this side of my semester abroad however, I can say without a doubt that it was one of the best experiences of my college years and instead of losing out like I feared, I gained more than I could ever relate through words.


The Forth Bridge west of Edinburgh

I learned under a different education system with modules and tutors in place of TAs and TA sessions. I experienced life at a large research university smack dab in the middle of one of the most historical and beautiful cities in the world. I learned what it’s like when your largest class has 497 students in it instead of 14. I felt what it was like to leave your comfort zone, face your anxieties, and leave behind everything you know. Above all, I learned that I was stronger than I ever could have imagined, and most importantly that support and love from family and friends, even when thousands of miles away, can get you through anything.

I think back on my time abroad and can’t help but smile. I had the opportunity to try new things, enjoy different foods, and meet some of the most incredible people. I can’t wait to return to Edinburgh and continue to explore more of our beautiful world.

If you’d like to read more about my time abroad, please check out my travel blog, KMA in Scotland. You can find it here!


Tournament of Bands 2009 pics 001

High School Marching Kirsten #throwback

Last weekend, I attended my first football game since my high school marching band days. Even though I must have watched and played through at least 40 games during that time, I am still hopeless when it comes to understanding the sport. Despite this, I could not pass up the opportunity to see my first (and probably only) NFL game. Bryn Mawr’s Student Activities Office is a fantastic resource on campus that plans and organizes different events and excursions to help students get off campus and experience venues/activities we might not be able to get to on our own. In the past, they’ve organized trips to the King of Prussia Mall, Phillies baseball games, and even the haunted house attraction Eastern State Penitentiary puts on each year, and that’s just a few of their events.


View of NYC from the third level of MetLife Stadium

The NFL game was one of these Student Activities excursions. Our small ticket price covered entrance to the game and transportation to New Jersey where the Philadelphia Eagles were playing the New York Jets. It was so exciting to see the New York City skyline as we wove through traffic trying to get to the stadium. As we entered the parking lot, it looked like a sea of cars and trailers interspersed with grills, tents, and all sorts of food from very, very dedicated tailgating fans. We parked right between some Jets fans and let’s just say I was glad we weren’t wearing any Eagles gear. We navigated the cars and buses and made it to the stadium where there was a growing line of people waiting to get in. We made our way through security and decided to explore the gift shop before the massive crowds flooded in. If the shop wasn’t enough to entice you, there were stands upon stands of every food you can imagine… from cheesesteaks to hot dogs and everything in between. Finally, the game began and in the end, we witnessed the Eagles win their first game of the season. We must have been good luck charms!

IMG_7649It was an incredibly fun day to spend with friends and a neat way to get off campus for a little bit. Not to mention, the weather for it was absolutely beautiful! It was good to enjoy some sunshine before Hurricane Joaquin brought the clouds, chilly temperatures, and rain to us. I definitely can’t wait to take advantage of more Student Activities events this year.