Day at the Museum

Have you ever wondered how much a group of students could geek out about Anthropology and museums? Well after spending the day at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City last Friday, I can personally tell you that it is *a lot*. In a couple previous blogs, I have talked about my love for Bryn Mawr’s new Museum Studies program. After our visit on Friday, I am even more inspired by, in love with, and excited to see the program grow.

IMG_9464We started our visit off with a lunch of authentic New York pizza and conversation with six incredible members of the museum’s education department. Each educator talked to us about their path to their current position, and as somebody who is interested in museums and their intersections with education programming, I was fascinated to hear how they had become part of the museum’s team. After lunch, we made our way into the inner-workings of the museum building and quite literally got to go behind the scenes. On the way to our next stop, we walked through hallways lined with offices and cases full of artifacts. It was breathtaking to realize that even though the museum has an amazingly large amount of artifacts and objects on display, there are even more artifacts that are not on permanent display. If only museums had infinite amounts of space!

IMG_9465Besides being in awe of having the opportunity to see a side of the museum that not many visitors get access to, by walking through the hallways of the museum behind the scenes, we got to literally walk in the footsteps of Margaret Mead, who through her work helped popularize American Anthropology. This is where the geeking out came in! As an Anthropology major, it was surreal to be a place where not only one, but two prominent individuals in your field had once worked and left their mark on. Franz Boas, who is known as the father of American Anthropology also worked at the AMNH, and according to one of the curators we were fortunate to have the opportunity to speak with, the museum is where Boas decided American Anthropology should be taught using a four- field approach including Cultural, Biological, Linguistic, and Archaeology, a practice the Bryn Mawr Anthro. department still practices today.


Fellow Banter Blogger Maeve and I in front of Margaret Mead’s office!

The curator we spoke with also talked to us about what it was like to work with Margaret Mead, and even had her rocking chair right in his office, which one of my classmates got to sit in! She once told him that the classroom should not get in the way of students’ learning, a comment that has continued to stay in mind. I was struck by it, because it really highlights the need for programs like Museum Studies at BMC, and the other PRAXIS courses we offer that make field sites outside of the college integral to students’ learning. Our syllabus came to life, as we were able to see the artifact that is pictured on its first page. That is a cool feeling! We can learn incredible amounts from lectures, discussions, and our textbooks, but nothing can compare to the learning you get from immersing yourself in a place.

Our next stop was the Margaret Mead Hall of Pacific Peoples where we got to hear about the intricacies of museum display, communication with cultures represented in the hall, and the effects of popular media on the museum. After all was said and done, we had about an hour of free time to explore the museum before we had to board the van back to Bryn Mawr. While we all would have loved even more free time to explore, we were all exhausted after such a full day of learning, questioning, and discussing. I’m sad that my time in the Museum Studies program is coming to a close, but as I’ve said before in my blogs, I am beyond ecstatic that the program will continue to grow and expose students to these incredible places and the people who make them what they are today.

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Storybook Steps- A Celtic Dance Festival

IMG_9434Last weekend, one of my best friends and I had the fantastic opportunity to go to the premiere of Rince na Mawr’s performance of “Storybook Steps”. It was the perfect way to celebrate St. Patrick’s day on campus! Rince na Mawr is Bryn Mawr’s Irish Dance Club, and it was a phenomenal experience to watch our classmates and peers perform such beautiful, graceful, and engaging dances. The dance festival took place in Rhoads Old Dining Hall, which in my opinion, is one of the most gorgeous rooms on campus.


FullSizeRender (6)The first act was a creative rendition of the story “Brave” which tells the tale of Merida, the daughter of a Scottish King and Queen who wants to go her own way, against the wishes of the Highland lords, who want her to follow tradition. The music was perfectly matched with the dances, and the costumes were both cute and creative. The second act was a series of dances that were just as delightful to watch. I am still in awe of the coordination the dancers had, and it was evident they were having fun, not just with what they were doing, but being with each other as well.

IMG_9436Watching their performance was such a great way to begin the weekend and celebrate St. Paddy’s day! I am so happy we were able to witness the dancers’ passion, hard work, and talents during their show.

Spring is Blooming!

PicCollageI can’t believe Spring Break has come and gone! I was so lucky to be able to spend a few days with part of my incredible family. It of course went by too quickly, but I am so grateful for the time I was able to spend with them. I was surprised however to land to a sprinkling of snow on the ground in Cincinnati, and I know Philly got some snow too! It was definitely not very spring- like. However, in first few days I was back at Bryn Mawr, we experienced temperatures in the 70s, and flowers are starting to bloom ! I think we even broke 80 degrees one day last week, and I could not be more happy, because boy am I done with the cold temperatures! While I was visiting my family, we got to spend some really wonderful time together, see a movie, enjoy some delicious food, and relax together. It was definitely the breather I needed 🙂

I spent the second half of break working on my thesis. Over the course of two days, I spent 10 hours at Starbucks typing away. I conducted two more interviews, continued transcribing my previous interviews, and actually started writing! I am so excited to be drafting my paper, and seeing how the experiences of the incredible people I have had the privilege of talking to relate to each other, as well as my own experience as somebody who is preparing to become a teacher next year. I can’t wait to see how my paper unfolds. As I mentioned in my blogs earlier this semester, I am still dedicated to celebrating the small things, and because I made some progress on my thesis, I had a lot to celebrate last week! How did I celebrate, you ask? By going to the Philadelphia Flower Show!

IMG_9360Since it was my first time going to the show, I didn’t know what to expect. I boarded the train, and it seemed like everybody was going to the show! I got off and was able to follow the giant crowd directly from the platform to the Philadelphia Convention Center where the show was hosted. This year’s theme was called, “Explore America” and was a celebration of 100 years of the National Park Service. About half of the convention center space was filled with gorgeous and elaborate flower displays making up scenes and imagery from different national parks across the country.

IMG_9363The other half of the space was full of vendors selling everything from you guessed it, flowers (sooooo many flowers), to garden supplies, antiques, and everything in between. I went on the last Friday of the show and so while the lobby of the convention center and trains were overflowing with visitors, surprisingly, the flower displays themselves were not too crowded, which was really nice! I got to take some awesome photos, and the displays were truly beautiful. If only I had remembered to take an allergy pill! If one of the vendors had been selling them, I’m sure they would have made a mint 😉 I really enjoyed the show, and it was just what I needed to celebrate and relax before classes started again.

Here are some more photos!


Scene depicting Yosemite National Park


Display of flowers found in Death Valley


I missed where this was supposed to be, but the pond and waterfall were so pretty!

#112 Understand Wawa

IMG_9298As I look at the remaining tasks on the bucket list and talk to my friends about them, I have come to realize that for many of them, I am coming very late to the party! Since freshman year, I have heard friends talking about making “Wawa runs” at all hours of the evening and night. I thought it was just popular among my friends and fellow college students, but there was an article published just yesterday about the “cult of Wawa” and how “Here in the Philadelphia area, Wawa is much more than a convenience store. It is a provider, a security blanket, [and] a beacon in the dark” (, 2016)

IMG_9296How could I go my four years without stopping in? So without further ado, I tagged along with a friend when she made her Wawa run one night last week. A couple nights before I had a big research project and film presentation due, I was definitely in need of caffeine and a midnight snack. Wawa was certainly able to provide both! In addition to convenience store-like offerings like drinks, snacks, and coffee, Wawa has a hot food counter, speciality hot/iced beverage bar, and even a fresh pastry display. There were honestly too many choices! I ended up getting an iced coffee and turkey cheddar wrap. With those in hand, I was able to start tackling my two big projects! With my thesis due in a couple months, I’m sure I’ll be making some more Wawa runs before I leave!

“An Independence Pass please.”

Riding the train into the city is unfortunately pretty expensive, around $14 for a roundtrip ticket. There is a special type of ticket called an Independence Pass which is only $12 dollars and can be used an infinite amount of times any one day on regional rail trains, the subways, buses, and trolleys. Freshman year I remember asking the conductor for a roundtrip ticket into the city and receiving one of these independence passes. Seeing the confused look on my face, he explained how purchasing a pass saved passengers a little money. It was really nice of him to do that, and I’ve noticed most conductors do the same. Yesterday evening I purchased my seventh independence pass in two weeks. Considering I usually make my way into Philly once a month if I’m lucky, the past couple of weeks have certainly been full of craziness, exploration, and many things to see and do.

IMG_9222Two weeks ago, my Museum Anthropology class made our way to the Penn Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology for a visit. In a blog last semester, I talked about Bryn Mawr’s incredible new Museum Studies program, and I am thrilled I was able to take the next course, “Museum Anthropology” this semester. After walking through and visiting their new exhibit, “The Golden Age of King Midas” we had the opportunity to speak with two very influential members of the museum’s staff. We had really rich discussion throughout our visit and it was really neat to have such a close experience with the collections and people that bring them to life!

As you might have read last week, my next visit into the city was to take the TExES teacher certification exam which is required for me to be able to teach in Texas after graduation. My trip that day had a sweet beginning though, as I stopped by Reading Terminal Market for a treat and some caffeine before my test. The other six trips into Center City were related to my thesis research, which I am very happy to share is going really well!

FullSizeRender (5)To get to important events and interviews over the past couple of weeks, I took a mix of the subway and regional rail, which is where my independence pass was particularly handy! It was my first time taking the Market- Frankford line, one of Philadelphia’s two subway lines, and I am proud to have navigated it by myself! (It honestly isn’t difficult, but still 😉 ) I really wish I had explored this transportation option much sooner as it opens up and makes so much more of the city easy to access.

IMG_9274Because I was in the city so often the last two weeks, I have had the opportunity to see downtown Philadelphia in ways I haven’t seen it before. Going in and out of 30th Street Station so many times, it really struck me how beautiful the station building and the skyline behind it is, which is all too easy to take for granted when you are running for a train or dashing out into the city. This weekend I was in the city so much that I was able to watch the city wake up at 8am, watch the sun go down on downtown, and observe how night transforms the station into a piece of glittering beauty under the bright lights.

IMG_9289I regret not exploring Philadelphia as much as I thought I would when I first moved up here for college. I haven’t for a couple different reasons, most of all because we are always so busy. But with a few months left, I am going to try my hardest to see even more of this City of Brotherly Love before I head back to Texas!

#9 Discover Your Favorite Hope’s Cookie

IMG_9284Another week, another bucket list item completed. After almost four years, I have finally not only discovered my favorite Hope’s cookie, but had my very first one as of this Sunday! Hope’s Cookies is very popular shop on the mainline, sharing a space with another local favorite (especially at the colleges!) Peace a Pizza. Fun fact, Hope’s was opened by a fellow mawrter! Everybody I talked to couldn’t believe I had never had one of their cookies before, but that’s only because the Peanut Butter Cup ice cream they offer is to die for, and I have always ordered a scoop over a cookie. Being number nine on the original BMC bucket list, I knew I had to discover my favorite flavor before the semester was over.

And the winner is…. the White Chocolate Cranberry!