In June of 2007, I graduated from Wellesley College with a B.A. in Russian Language and Literature and French. During the 2007–2008 academic year as a Fulbright Fellow I will be in St. Petersburg studying issues in museum management as well as historic site preservation projects in the city. I am focusing my research on record-keeping practices, funding of museums, and international involvement in the preservation of museums and historic sites.
My first exposure to Russia came during my freshman year of college in the form of a seminar in Modern Russian Literature while studying at Tufts University. After taking additional Russian literature courses and transferring to Wellesley College at the start of my sophomore year, I began taking Russian language courses and since then I have known that my future work and study will always involve Russia. I made my first trip to Russia during the summer after my sophomore year at Wellesley College. During my time in Russia I spent a month in St. Petersburg studying Russian language and art, and three weeks at Lake Baikal with a group of students and professors from Wellesley College during which we conducted research on the effect of watershed development on the littoral community of the lake. As part my courses in St. Petersburg, I visited the major museums of the city to view the art that we studied in the classroom, often led by curators in addition to our own professors. This was my first exposure to museums outside the United States, and their differences from their American counterparts sparked my interest in the diverse roles of museums as educators and as preservers of cultural identity within a given country. Since the end of the Soviet Union museum communities have been engaged in an examination of their own practices and a search for creative solutions due to rapid changes in Russia's economy and priorities. Because of this, I find it a truly fascinating time to study the preservation of museums as well as the place of museums in a country whose values and priorities greatly differ from those of the United States.
Following my time in Russia I had the opportunity to travel to many countries in Western Europe, and found myself constantly drawn to museums and comparing differences among their practices and the experiences of visitors, yet the unique situation of Russian museums constantly arose as a point of reference and of curiosity. I am very excited for the opportunity to return to Russia and engage in dialogues about museums both at the university and museum level, as well as experience life in Russia over the course of my Fulbright year.