Blog: our international Briana Mabson

When I walked into the Eindhoven Museum Depot on my first day as a volunteer about two months ago, I had several questions. Could I still do the type of work I loved to do? Was this going to be difficult not knowing much Dutch? Would I feel more settled in by volunteering?

Before I answer these questions, let me back up a little bit and introduce myself.

Hi! I am Briana Mabson, a museum professional from the United States. I have studied and worked in museum collections for almost ten years. I arrived in Eindhoven at the end of January 2022.

I reached out to the Eindhoven Museum after seeing a LinkedIn post where the museum was looking to connect more with the international community. I felt I could be helpful as a museum professional and a newly arrived international in Eindhoven.

Now let’s go back to that first day. As soon as I entered the Depot and met the collection team, my questions were answered.

Yes, I am still able to do the work I love. I feel a sense of purpose from working on various projects for the museum. I have applied my museum collection care knowledge by helping to accession and catalog a newly donated collection. I have also used my museum evaluation skills while working on a project to create connections between the museum and the international community.

No, this is not going to be difficult without knowing much Dutch. I feel a sense of belonging from collaborating with the whole collection team. Despite not understanding much Dutch (I am working on it), I still feel able to help with team projects and offer suggestions. I feel like a valued member of the team.

Yes, I feel more settled in by volunteering. I feel a sense of familiarity with my new community and city. While helping the museum connect with international groups and learning more about the history of Eindhoven, I feel more knowledgeable about and comfortable with my new surroundings.

As an international, volunteering at the Eindhoven Museum has helped me feel more at home in Eindhoven and find a place where I feel I belong.