Mentorship in museum studies program connects students to unique projects and post-graduate jobs

Monday, March 7, 2022
A photo of Dr. Kimberly Alexander on the left side and a recipie page from the Country Dyer book on the right.

Left photo: Kimberly Alexander, director of UNH's museum studies program, teaches a class. Right photo: A page from The Country Dyer's Assistant recipe book.

Before graduating last September from UNH’s museum studies program, Amy Denham worked with Kimberly Alexander, director of museum studies with the department of history, on recreating an 18th/early 19th century recipe for indigo dye as part of her final project. Denham found the historic recipe in a digital version of The Country Dyer’s Assistant (originally published 1798) and set to work, collecting the necessary ingredients and supplies she’d need to recreate the deep blue color the same way that post-Revolutionary War Americans did more than two centuries earlier.

A photo on the left showing the cover of <i>The Country Dyer's Assistant</i> and yarn and other materials dyed by Denham using this historic technique.
A photo on the left showing the cover of The Country Dyer's Assistant and, on the right, yarn and other materials dyed by Denham using this historic technique.

Now, Denham can demonstrate and teach this historic dying technique for a whole host of organizations – from schools to museums – including at the Newington Historical Society, where she serves as an archivist.

“I really enjoy connecting students to museums and historical societies for internships and jobs,” said Alexander, the recipient of a 2021 UNH Excellence in Teaching Award. “One of my goals is helping them find positions and opportunities that will be meaningful throughout their career paths.”

Alexander keeps in touch with many of her past students, inviting them back to UNH to speak to future alum of the museum studies program and collaborating with them in other ways. For example, Denham and Alexander are now working on a research article for the journal Early American Life.

"While the project was challenging at times, Kimberly was very encouraging and supportive,” added Denham. “She has been that way throughout my entire grad school experience and beyond and someone who’s very much in my corner as I begin my career in public history."