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Stories from the Frontline: Working at a Museum in a Pandemic

  • Tuesday, January 25, 2022
  • 6:00 PM - 7:00 PM
  • Virtual via Zoom
  • 66

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The pandemic has changed the faces and landscape of museums. Hear stories from 4 museum frontline workers, and share your own, as we embrace the power of storytelling to process the impacts on the field and build empathy for frontline museum work.


Panelist Information:

Andrea Parker (aka Drea) is the Visitor Services Manager for the Presidio Trust. Andrea joined the Trust in 2007 and has held a variety of positions over the years – each involving public-facing activities.  Andrea attended City College of San Francisco, and while not a native of San Francisco, she grew up in the “city” by the Bay. As the Visitor Services Manager, she co-manages the Presidio Visitor Center with her colleagues from the National Park Service and Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy. She also manages the Special Events staff that oversees all the outdoor events at the Presidio. She is currently busily preparing for the opening of the new Presidio Tunnel Tops, a 14-acre parkland due to open in the spring of 2022. The Tunnel Tops will include a variety of attractions – such as trails, gardens, picnic areas, a campfire and a much-anticipated two-acre outdoor adventure area for youth and families called the “Outpost.”

Casey Dexter-Lee has lived and worked at Angel Island State Park for 21 years. She began her career with California State Parks as a seasonal employee, running Angel Island’s overnight field trip for students living a day in the life of Union soldiers during the US Civil War and leading tours at the U.S. Immigration Station. Casey became a permanent employee, having the opportunity to help pilot the PORTS distance learning program at the park and becoming a lead to volunteers and interpretive staff. Casey was promoted to her current role as the lead interpreter for the island in 2017. Most recently, Casey was part of the team that developed the park’s Interpretation Master Plan, the guiding document for education in the park and was California State Park’s lead on the exhibit design team for the Angel Island Immigration Museum.

Liana Salikhova is the Community Engagement and Education Program Manager at the San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles. She works directly with the community to bring museum programs to multicultural and multigenerational audiences, both on and off site. Liana joined SJMQT as the Visitor Services and Tour Coordinator in the fall of 2019, shortly after moving to the U.S. Her eagerness to learn about, connect with, and support local communities in meaningful ways has helped her build partnerships with several community organizations in San Jose and create engaging outreach programs in the midst of the pandemic. Programs now include Crafternoons, monthly art-making events in the new community garden adjacent to the museum; First Friday Art Walks; and maker activities at Mexican Heritage Plaza events. She is excited to be relaunching free Community Days in the spring. Liana continues to work closely with the Visitor Services team and manage tours.

Los Tenorio is the Public Program Presenter at the California Academy of SciencesHe started taking part in informal education in high school when he was part of the “Science In Action” program at the California Academy of Sciences.  Once he started college, he kept his ties with the Cal Academy and would be part of the summer camps team every summer until his last year of college.  Once he graduated, he worked as a Gallery Interpreter at the Aquarium of the Bay in San Francisco and afterwards became part of the Hayward Shoreline Interpretive Center Staff as a Naturalist Aide.  He then moved to Southern California in which he became staff at Cabrillo Marine Aquarium as well as volunteered at the Aquarium of the Pacific.  He then moved onto the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County and The Page Museum at the La Brea Tar Pits to be part of the Gallery Interpreter team.   After being in California for all his life he moved to Florida and became an instructor for Florida State’s University Office of STEM Teaching Activities in the Biology Dept.  There, Los taught marine biology themed programs to elementary and middle school students.  He returned to California and became part of the Exploratorium public facing team and is currently with the Public Program staff at the California Academy of Sciences.

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Given the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the museum field, we are offering this program free of charge to everyone, and asking participants to pay what they can. Cultural Connections is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit run by an all-volunteer board, and the funds earned through membership and program admission directly support professional development programs and resources for our colleagues throughout the Bay Area. Thank you for supporting Cultural Connections!

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