Careers in Museums


Museums offer a wide range of career possibilities for graduate students, from curation to marketing to program management. This interdisciplinary panel will explore the diverse roles four alumni currently hold at museums and provide practical advice for graduate students interested in pursuing a career in the field.


Liz Siegel, Curator of Photography, Art Institute of Chicago (PhD Art History 2003)

Elizabeth Siegel is Curator of Photography at the Art Institute of Chicago. She received her undergraduate degree at Yale and her Ph.D. from the University of Chicago. Among her recent exhibitions are Alfred Stieglitz and the Nineteenth Century; Shatter Rupture Break, an exhibition bringing together modern work from across the Art Institute; Abelardo Morell: The Universe Next Door, a retrospective that traveled to the J. Paul Getty Museum and High Museum of Art; Ralph Eugene Meatyard: Dolls and Masks, which traveled to the de Young Museum, San Francisco, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art; and Playing with Pictures: The Art of Victorian Photocollage, which traveled to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, and the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto. Besides catalogues accompanying several of those exhibitions, other books include Taken by Design: Photography at the Institute of Design, 1937–1971 and Galleries of Friendship and Fame: A History of Nineteenth-Century American Photograph Albums. She is currently working on an exhibition on the Art Institute curator Hugh Edwards. Siegel has contributed writing and scholarship to numerous publications and actively participates as a panelist, lecturer, and reviewer. LinkedIn

Saleem Hue Penny, AVP of Community and Educational Partnerships, Chicago Children’s Museum (MA Social Work 2011)

Saleem is an Early Childhood Advocate, Interdisciplinary Artist, and Volunteer Hospital Magician. He is the AVP of Community & Educational Partnerships at Chicago Children’s Museum. Saleem is a Monck's Corner (SC) rooted, Pisgah Forest (NC) raised, Chicago-based interdisciplinary "rural hip hop blues" artist. Saleem is also a volunteer Hospital Magician with Open Heart Magic providing 1-on-1 therapeutic bedside magic to hospitalized children on the South Side. LinkedIn

Rabiah Mayas, Director of Science & Integrated Strategies, Museum of Science & Industry (PhD Biochemistry & Molecular Biology 2007)

Rabiah Mayas is the Director of Science and Integrated Strategies at the Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago. In this capacity since 2010, she leads a number of interdisciplinary initiatives including program evaluation and science learning research, public science programs and events, and youth engagement with diverse STEM careers and professionals. She also directs initiatives dedicated to youth-driven design, engineering and innovation, including the Wanger Family Fab Lab and the Black Creativity Innovation Studio. Previously, Rabiah was the Science Director of Science Chicago, a collaborative, year-long public engagement campaign spearheaded by the Museum. Rabiah earned a Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at The University of Chicago. She earned a B.S. in the same field and a Certificate in Modern Languages and Linguistics (French concentration) from the University of Maryland Baltimore County, where she was a Meyerhoff Scholar.

Katie Rahn, Director of Marketing, Art Institute of Chicago (MA Humanities 2006)

Katie Rahn is the director of marketing at the Art Institute of Chicago, where she has worked for more than a decade. In her time at the museum, she has done everything from act as a landlord in support of the award-winning “Van Gogh Airbnb” advertising campaign to author important blog posts titled “Bunnies!” and “Do the Bustle.” She received her undergraduate degree from Miami University (Ohio) and her MA in the Humanities from the University of Chicago. LinkedIn


Whitney Gaylord, Assistant Director, Digital Collections, Univerity of Chicago

Whitney Gaylord is the Assistant Director in the Visual Resources Center at the University of Chicago. Prior to joining UChicago in 2009, she had been the Senior Cataloger in the Department of Photography at the Museum of Modern Art since 2005. Whitney holds a BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and is an active furniture maker in Chicago's woodworking community. LinkedIn