Rochester women are making headlines. Lauren Peace
Kathryn Murano Santos(Photo: Richard Ashworth, New Vision Design)
Heard about the hottest career trend? It’s called career by osmosis. While it may have not, as yet, gone “viral,” you will be intrigued to learn that the trend was started right here in Rochester by Kathryn Murano Santos.
Growing up, until age 5, on Vick Park A, right around the corner from the Rochester Museum and Science Center (RMSC), her mom often brought the young Murano Santos to imbibe the museum’s cultural ambience.
So taken in, was she, with her experience of the museum, that at age 4, she announced to her parents that she was going to become an archaeologist. In the end, she opted to study cultural anthropology favoring its emphasis on learning about other cultures through direct contact and conversation.
Today, in a full-circle experience, as RMSC’S director of collections and exhibitions, she “aims to evaluate and address modern problems through the application of anthropological theory and methods.”
“I think I’m interested in just about everywhere in the world,” Murano Santos states. “And that’s one of the things I love about my job. Given that I have this innate curiosity, I am very lucky that my job allows me to explore that curiosity in an ongoing basis through the projects that I do.”
One of those projects has its origins in a 90-year-old exchange of friendship dolls with Japan (created by an American missionary in reaction to the United States’ Immigration Act of 1924 which excluded Asian immigrants as potential legal immigrants to the U.S.) RMSC is fortunate to have one of those dolls, Miss Nagasaki, as part of the museum’s collections.
The exchange has forged bonds between our country and Japan through citizen diplomacy. In 2017, in celebration of this 90-year cultural relationship, students of Genesee Community Charter School and School #33, as well as their student counterparts in Nagasaki, Japan, co-created peace murals which have been displayed in both countries.NEWSLETTERSThank you! You're almost signed up for Rochester BusinessKeep an eye out for an email to confirm your newsletter registration.>More newsletters
“The creative output of the teams overseen by Kathryn, is, at times, astonishing. In our first year together, Kathryn quickly distinguished herself as an extremely observant and supportive leader who sets strategy into practice by building consensus around the most exciting and promising ideas and concepts in museum experience design,” says Daniel J. Menelly, president and chief science officer.
Murano Santos endeavors to shine light, through formal and informal educational channels, on racial and structural inequities. She has leadership roles in a number of community organizations that celebrate diversity and considers it her personal mission to effect positive social change through community activism. She is particularly proud of her efforts and RMSC’s stewardship role in creating the Take It Down: Organizing Against Racism museum exhibit regarding removal of racist depictions from the Dentzel Carousel.
Personal: 38, married, lives in Irondequoit.
Occupation: Senior Director of Collections and Exhibitions, Rochester Museum & Science Center.
Education: University of Cambridge, Downing College, Master of Philosophy, Social Anthropology, 2002; University of Pennsylvania, Bachelor of Arts, Anthropology and Religious Studies (double major), 2001.
Recent work projects and achievements: In 2017, RMSC team completed fundraising to renovate collections storage spaces. Worked with community activists and subject experts to develop a variety of exhibits on matters of cultural and historic import.
Current community activities and recent achievements: Take It Down steering committee; president, Friends of Ganondagan board of trustees; vice president, Rochester Regional Library Council board of trustees; member Lewis Henry Morgan Chapter of the New York State Archaeological Association board; member Museum Studies Advisory board, Rochester Institute of Technology; adjunct professor, RIT; and campaigned with Take It Down activists and clergy and partner organizations to address racial justice in the Rochester City School District through a focus on recruiting and retaining more race- and class-conscious teachers of color.
Biggest challenge: Authentic collaboration is time-consuming and often emotional; it’s one of the most challenging and rewarding parts of my work. Another challenge for me is to determine where to focus my energy first: workforce diversity, diversity within institutions that shape national values, creating a diverse cadre of tomorrow’s leaders.
A person or mentor who has inspired me: After losing my 6th grade spelling bee, to cheer me up, my parents got me a poster of Amelia Earhart (the first woman to attempt to fly around the world). Despite her failure to do so, Earhart’s courage stuck with me. Through Earhart’s example, my parents taught me that the only real failure is to stop trying.
One piece of advice I’d give to someone starting out in their professional career: Approach all people as experts of their own experiences and discover what you’re supposed to learn from them. Considering many perspectives leads to greater understanding.
Arlene Hisiger is a Rochester-area freelance writer.
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Source : https://www.democratandchronicle.com/story/money/business/2018/01/28/woman-watch-kathryn-murano-santos-rmsc-rochester-museum-science-center-senior-director-collections/1036639001/