Interview with the Graduates, Meghan Raleigh

Welcome to the first installment of our series, Interview with the Graduates! This week we are featuring Meghan Raleigh, who graduated in 2015 and now works for the Philbrook Museum of Art in their membership department. We asked Meghan a few questions about life after graduation as well as some challenges facing museums today.

Why was getting your master’s a game changer? What advice do you have for people thinking about graduate school? 

I was contemplating going to grad school for art history, but after finding out about TU’s MSM program, I realized that having my MA in Museum Science and Management would give me more options. With this degree, I could teach art history/museum studies, work in museum management, or do a little bit of both. My advice for people thinking about graduate school is to do it. Sure it was tough, but having my MA puts me a step above other young professionals in my field. It’s made me a more desirable candidate for prospective employers and has opened so many doors for me in my career.

What led you to the membership department at the Philbrook?
I fell into membership and development completely by accident. I took a course at TU over grant writing and met my current boss while working on my project for that class. I completed an internship in Philbrook’s Education Department (which I also received due to that class) and when I was approaching graduation, a position in my current department opened up and my boss reached out to me and I’ve been here ever since.

What trends are you seeing in museum membership programming right now? 
I’ve learned that museum membership is really exhibition-driven. When we have a blockbuster exhibition, like Monet in 2014, we see a surge in membership. A lot of our on-again-off-again members have told us that they only join up again when we have an exhibition that interests them.

How has social media played a role in membership department?
I work a lot with our Communications Department. We create membership materials together, work on marketing campaigns, and just as important– discuss social media posts. Social media plays a huge role in membership. We advertise member-only events/promotions via email and social media and that’s how we reach out to not-yet members. Without social media, we would just be sitting at the Museum hoping that our visitors become members.

Where did you get your undergrad degree? 
My undergraduate degree is a BA in Art History from the University of Oklahoma

Favorite Tulsa Restaurant or favorite thing about living in Tulsa? 
The people in Tulsa are, by far, my favorite thing about Tulsa… Besides Philbrook 🙂

Be back for our next installment in a few weeks!