John Maniatis ('97)
John's reflections on his career path: I always say to myself how lucky I am to get paid to work in a museum. I love my work. I love learning on a daily basis, with the intent of turning that knowledge into a product. The kind that a visitor to my museum can walk away with and enrich their lives. There is always a path to the job you love. You just have to put the map away at times and see where the path takes you.
In college I majored in Anthropology and Classical Civilization…bones and stones. Fast forward twenty years and here I am cataloguing 20th Century militaria. Most all of the artifacts that cross my desk as Registrar at a military museum are mass produced. They are green, brown, made of cloth or metal. Occasionally they have been blown up. In some cases, the original owner died wearing/holding the object. In those cases, the job can be sobering.
One thing for sure, work it is never dull. But it is a far cry from what I thought I would be doing. In fact, after Loyola, I volunteered [and ultimately worked at, twice] the Field Museum. I worked on an excavation for a couple of summers in the Ancient Agora in Athens, Greece. I let myself wander a bit. I tried different jobs on the same career path. At the Field Museum I worked for the Registrar, using my Osteology skills from Dr. Grauer’s classes to inventory the human remains collection at the museum. Even though the collection had been there for decades, there were gaps in their records that they needed help filling in.
Working at the Field Museum, and being mentored by a top notch Registrar, pointed me in my current direction on my career path. I proceeded to get my Master’s degree at The George Washington University in Museum Studies. Studying how museums work in a city like Washington DC, was perfect. You study under the professionals that ultimately become your colleagues. Out of school I was hired onto an artifact move project at Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian, playing a part in moving roughly 20,000 artifacts a month from NYC to Washington DC. A few years later, I was on a similar artifact move project back at the Field Museum.
In 2006, I began working at the First Division Museum at Cantigny. Where I am today began in many ways in the classrooms at Loyola. That is where I picked up my career map. Along the way, I stopped off at many roadside attractions: Athens; The Field Museum; GWU; NMAI and FDM, learned a few things and moved on. Each of these experiences were quite different, yet on that same path.