On the Bright Side: SUNY Oneonta grad program wins national award

The Cooperstown Graduate Program at SUNY Oneonta was awarded a National Emerging Museum Professionals Network award recognizing the program for "diversifying and developing a comprehensive education for emerging museum professionals," according to a SUNY Oneonta media release. The program received one of the 24 inaugural awards given out across five categories.

According to NEMPN, the awards "celebrate emerging and established professionals actively practicing the values of equitable and inclusive behavior." Sierra Van Ryck de Groot, co-president of the NEMPN board of directors, said, “We felt it was only fitting to formally recognize outstanding and noteworthy individuals and organizations that align with our mission of engaging and supporting self-defined emerging museum professionals in building vibrant, equitable, and inclusive communities of networking, collaborative practice and exchange.”

"We are so honored to be recognized by the very people whom we serve — emerging museum professionals. It tells us that we must be doing something right," Gretchen Sorin, CGP director and distinguished service professor of museum studies, said in the release. "Like SUNY Oneonta, CGP has long had a commitment to equity and inclusion, two values that the emerging professional organization took into consideration in making their selection."

The Cooperstown Graduate Program offers "experiences and strategies for students to become creative, entrepreneurial museum leaders who are committed to generating programs and services for the public good," the release said. Students practice the skills of constructive dialogue and bring them to their museum positions to support community discussions on issues of human rights, social justice, science and society, and local concerns.

CGP has had a historically high placement rate, the release said. Generally, 90 to 100 percent of students find jobs within 12 months of their graduation.

The program partners with local museums, historical societies, schools and nonprofit organizations to develop interpretive plans, educational programs, budgets, exhibits and more. Partners include Old Sturbridge Village, Hyde Hall, the Dyckman Farmhouse Museum in Manhattan, the Harley Davidson Museum, the Museum at Bethel Woods, Hanford Mills and the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.

In addition to living, working and learning in Cooperstown, students take field trips to cities such as Philadelphia, Montreal and New York City to learn about museum work from experts, according to the release. Day-long excursions to regional museums offer additional examples of museum practice.

For more information about the Cooperstown Graduate Program, visit cgpmuseumstudies.org.

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