Meet a Member from VAM's Council

Posted By: Kristina Boodram News & Announcements, Perspectives,
Paige Gibbons-Backus
Paige Gibbons-Backus

Council, VP of Membership Engagement

Historic Site Manager

Growing up, I traveled a lot with my family, and that sparked a love of history and exploring. That spark never went away because I always knew I wanted to work with history, but in the beginning, I didn't exactly know what that meant. When I went to school at the University of Mary Washington, I was working towards a degree in Historic Preservation to get experience in all facets of the museum field. Through internships, volunteering, and coursework I dabbled in archaeology, architecture, collections, and education.

I first learned about VAM towards the end of my studies and while I was working part-time as a Historic Interpreter. I have been a member of the Virginia Association of Museums for over 10 years now and I can honestly say that I would not be where I am today without VAM. After several of my coworkers had attended the conference and I learned about all the different training opportunities that were available and I was instantly hooked. I am a firm believer that VAM is a valuable tool for museum professionals to assist with their careers at all levels. From professional training and first-hand experiences from conferences, workshops, and programs such as Advocacy Day, there is always something new to learn. I have attended the VAM conference every year since 2013 and am always invigorated by all the breakout sessions and conversations.  

VAM is valuable not only through training but the networking and meet-ups as well. Building connections and making acquaintances is in my opinion, just as valuable, if not more valuable than training and education. It was through these connections that I was able to get my first full-time museum job and be appointed to the board of VAM. Getting involved in VAM has allowed me to learn so much as I advanced in my career from historic interpreter to site manager through involvement on the board and on some of the many committees, as well as building connections with many whom I would consider mentors and friends today.  Now, I get to do what I love every day as my job and I still travel every chance I get!