Small Institution, Big Impact

Julia Schoenthal, anthropology graduate of Beloit College (’20), shows the valuable work of preserving and educating about our local history to the local community. She was interviewed by Julia Hwang (’22) to get a look into her work as a program coordinator in the Beloit Historical Society.

Julia Schoenthal studied anthropology and worked for almost 3 years in the Logan Museum of Anthropology as a museum assistant. Her work there has been an instrumental part of narrowing down what she wanted to do: preserving and educating the local community in a museum. As the pandemic halted many plans for this graduating class, she decided to stay local and work with the Beloit Historical Society.

Her temporary position soon turned into a part-time continuing position as a program coordinator in which she is in charge of all programs, events, and its execution. Her priority is to use the Beloit Historical Society’s resources to spread information and awareness of our local land and history. This awareness includes social media outreach, creating strategic plans for better programs, and working with interns to execute these plans successfully.

Working in this position, she soon found the importance of anthropology, especially working in a small institution, because “those are the places where you get to see the day to day lives of people through their objects.” There is a special connection that is created when working with local citizens, land, history, and getting to experience and live in those pockets of history. Through her position, she is able to fully experience the unique history that Beloit provides.

Schoenthal also mentions that her experience at Beloit College, in classes and as a museum assistant, has all helped her adjust to this job as she had skills that are not often taught at other institutions. Her hands-on experience, her many collaborations with staff and students, and holistically contextualizing anthropology, science, history, and current issues have been key to smoothing her transition into her work at the Beloit Historical Society.

Importantly, she has noticed the strength a tight-knit group carries in a working environment which she has experienced in both Beloit College and Beloit Historical Society. The closeness of the team has supported her when she needed it and appreciates the trust, freedom, and respect she receives. Often people feel the urge to explore the world after college, especially with a small student population like ours, but Schoenthal shows us that her purpose at the Beloit Historical Society is anything but small and her impact in our local community reaches our current Beloit College population as we grow closer and understand the values of working with a small group.

By: Julia Urim Hwang'22
April 30, 2021

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