Julia Kennedy, as a native Philadelphian, was fortunate to grow up visiting and inspired by places such as the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, the Franklin Institute, and many other world class institutions in the area. This inspired and education outside of the classroom that has endured throughout her career.
During her undergraduate career at James Madison University (JMU) in Harrisonburg, Virginia, not only was her creativity fostered, earning a Bachelor of Arts in Studio Art (Drawing & Painting), but also her interest in Art History and the impact art museums and galleries had on young minds.Being active in Kappa Pi Honors Art Fraternity helped Julia understand the benefits of art education with children, particularly while working with special needs children for two years. Other extra-curriculars included involvement in the theatre department. She worked in the wood shop helping to design and create sets and props for the college’s productions. Completing a semester abroad studying theatre, art history and visual rhetoric in London in 2009, focused her career goals further in the museum/gallery atmosphere. Hoping to inspire others into learning and discovering their own passions, museum education and historical preservation are primary career focus areas.
An internship at George Washington's Mount Vernon provided Julia with the opportunity to document artifacts from the then recently excavated South Grove Midden. During her time there, she was responsible for doing research and drawing the relationship between Mount Vernon’s architecture and expansions throughout it's timeline of owners, to the recognizable symbol we know it to be today.
After, she earned a certification from Northern Virginia Community College (NVCC) in Historical Preservation, and completed a capstone internship at the Naval History and Heritage Command. There, Julia learned collection management, cataloguing, and archiving techniques within the curatorial department.
In 2016, she completed an MA in Museum Studies with Merit from the University of Leicester (UK). This unique program allowed to learn alongside classmates from around the world and give a global perspective to the world of museum studies. During a short residency she was able to participate in a workshop, where students used the process of design thinking to evaluate current interpretation, and create new solutions for a Buccleuch Living Heritage Trust site.
While all aspects of the museum field are interesting, Julia's research focus has been on Museum Education emphasizing the beneficial relationship museums can have with public schools. Museums are a tremendous underutilized resource. Streamlining public education courses with local museum specialties improves the quality of education, and promoting lifelong learning. Julia strongly believes that by creating communication with local school systems and museums is incredibly beneficial for students, particularly those with special needs, as public education systems struggle to keep funding for the arts and other areas. Her final dissertation discusses the effect that perception and policy have on museum-school relationships.
Currently she works at Museum Hack as a Marketing & Audience Development Associate, running their social media platforms, working on marketing-based projects for Audience Development consulting projects, project management, and writing Museum Professional content for their blog.