Anneke Benison has a passion for history. But she’s not an average history major. Her passion for the Lord makes her stand out.
At the University of Michigan, through her museum studies minor and various jobs, Anneke participated in museum curation such as exhibit design, management and care. Her studies about museum programming and planning sparked her interest in working at a museum in the future.
In October 2020, Anneke was preparing to graduate and thinking about her next steps. Her grandmother sent her an email that included a link to information about the JAARS Fellows program. Her grandmother was a missionary kid and has continuing contact with a variety of people in JAARS, Wycliffe, and SIL. Anneke was intrigued; she thought her passion for history and her experience in museums made her a perfect fit for the Museum Curator Fellow, so she applied.
Since she began as the Museum Curator Fellow in July 2021, Anneke has worked on many exciting projects. She has been helping renovate the Mexico–Cárdenas Museum, rearranging and organizing items and exhibits to prepare it for whenever it reopens.
Anneke has also taken charge of the museum’s posts on Facebook. Since she has little experience with social media, Anneke is glad to be included in creating the posts because the work stretches her and makes her a more versatile employee. She also has worked at the front desk, welcoming guests and helping them find their way around.
One of Anneke’s favorite projects is exhibit design and construction. “The reward of seeing a project done with your hands is just fantastic.” She helped make a replica of a thatched roof for the Papua New Guinea exhibit in the Museum of the Alphabet. Anneke said, “With the help of one of our part-time staff and another volunteer, I took a large roll of straw thatching and measured it against the walls we used it on.” She added, “The hardest part [of the project] was the edge of one wall; it stands out in the hallway, and if we used the same method as we had been, you would’ve been able to see behind the thatch.” She got a coworker’s help to fix this problem.
People from across America and from other countries come to the Museum of the Alphabet at JAARS to see its fascinating exhibits about the history of linguistics. Anneke has talked to many of these people and has been enriched by the experience. She especially enjoys helping school groups learn about displays such as the hieroglyphics exhibit.
Anneke has appreciated the chance to learn more about what it means to work at a museum because that is what she hopes to do with her degree. In the case of JAARS, Anneke and the other museum staff members seek to show how museums can further the work of Bible translation. Museums such as the Museum of the Alphabet here at JAARS raise awareness of the need for Bible translation and inform visitors about the translations that have been completed.
Anneke has learned much about her chosen field of museums during her time at JAARS, but she is also learning more about what it means to use her talents to serve the Lord, and she is grateful for this experience.
See how you can serve the Lord here at JAARS!