Day in the Life: Chris (Kit) Canarina, Museum Tech

20150930_103428 Hello, bloggers! Welcome back to another addition of Day in the Life. For those of you that haven’t seen the first blog posting I started, it was on Stephanie Sims. Stephanie works for the Clinton Foundation as an Archivists for William J. Clinton (in the flesh!). This week, we will focus on Kit, who is a museum technician here with NARA at the WJC Library. For the rest of this semester, I will be interviewing every member here of the Clinton Staff that I have been working with since I started so that future GA’s are able to see what it is like working with this staff, and get a better understanding of  what it means to work for the federal government.

I met Kit the first day of my GA here over a year ago, and he gave me a fantastic tour of the building and introduced me to as many people as we could find. We have not only worked together, but attended the AMA conference (along with Jennifer, Joe and Joseph, who I will talk to later and post about) and is just generally a good guy who has a lot of different experience that he shared with me. For starters, Kit was in the Air Force for 24 years before he retired. In that time, he worked as an aircraft mechanic, a historian and finally a meteorologists. For the sake of this blog, we will stick with his experience as a historian.20150930_103515

Two of his most memorable experiences was in South Korea and San Antonio. Two completely different places! But, they did help shape his career to be where he is currently. In South Korea, Kit worked at the Air Force Heritage Center, and specifically the “Hall of Heroes”, or recipients of the Medal of Honor. Some great experience he learned seems rather mundane, such as lighting and case care, but these are all valuable tools to take with someone who is looking to move into the museum world. In addition, it is interesting to talk to someone about a museum that is so far away. He was only there for a bit before he moved, but this was the beginning of his real ‘experience’ in the museum field.

His second experience was when he moved back state-side, specifically San Antonio. There, he worked at Hangar 9. This is a pretty neat place. It is actually closed to the public today, and is kept as a historical landmark through the National Park Service. Back when Kit was involved with it, it was still a functioning place where people could rent out the hangar for public speaking, or come by for a tour (provide by the man himself!). Hangar 9 is the oldest hangar in the Air Force and the only one made of wood. This made museum work even more interesting, since there are rules that govern the building the artifacts are housed in. For instance, there was no air conditioning in the majority of the building because it was being preserved, and the doors to open the hangar for the public could not have motors on them for authenticity. However, the artifacts they did have are absolutely amazing. The history starts with the early Air Force medical research and ends with the Apollo moon landings! They had an astronaut suit! Though it didn’t go into space, it was made for a NASA astronaut. Cool!

20150930_104044For those of you looking to start as a museum technician, be prepared to be a ‘jack of all trades’. Kit told me that most of his day is not planned, since he could start off inventorying and end with helping with incoming or outgoing loans. Exhibit set up and conservation play important parts in his life as a museum tech, but one thing he does not get to do that often but is his favorite is giving tours to groups throughout the museum. The Clinton Library has volunteers that give tours, but sometimes there are special groups that come through. In that case, they can ask for a museum staff member to come up front and give a tour, or even bring them back into our work space!

Kit has been a great member of the team and I personally have learned a lot from him. Thanks for the interview, Kit, and hopefully if you bloggers out there are looking to get into working here at the Clinton Library you come by and say hi to him! Before you go, to the left is a picture of his favorite Clinton Library item. Creepy! Until next time!

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