Alex W. Barker

Museum Work

It's hard to imagine an area that's more fundamentally interdisciplinary than museum work—it combines the best of multiple scientific and humanistic disciplines with aesthetic judgment and craftsmanship. And it requires you to teach at multiple levels, from postgraduate instruction to elementary school classes, with all the didactic and pedagogical juggling that implies. Few areas are more challenging, none, perhaps, is more rewarding.

I’m honored to be the Director of the Museum of Art & Archaeology at the University of Missouri-Columbia. The Museum of Art & Archaeology is accredited by the American Association of Museums. Less than 5% of the museums in the country have received AAM accreditation; the Museum of Art & Archaeology is the only accredited Museum in the area. I serve as a field reviewer for the AAM Museum Accreditation program, as well as for the Museum Assessment Program.

Prior to coming to the University of Missouri, I served as Vice President for Collections, Research and Exhibitions at the Milwaukee Public Museum, Curator of North American Archaeology and head of the Anthropology Department. I previously served in a variety of capacities at the Dallas Museum of Natural History, including Curator of Archaeology, Chief Curator, Director of Science Programs and as the interim Museum Director.

I’m a graduate of the Getty’s Museum Leadership Institute, class of 2004. I’m also President of the Council for Museum Anthropology, and have served on the Museums, Curation and Collections Committee of the Society for American Archaeology, the American Association of Museums Ethics Task Force on Cultural Property, and the AAM National Program Committee, among other appointments. My museum work has been supported by numerous grants from the Institute for Museum and Library Services and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Museum Work has given me
an opportunity to work

with animals…
Setting up an Exhibit
with children …
Barker's knees with children
and with administrators.
Barker with Madonna and Child