Eiteljorg Musuem Blog
  • Eiteljorg Insider | A Summer of Successes

    by by Haley Stevenson, marketing and communications intern | Aug 15, 2018

    As my final year of college approaches, more and more often I am asked that dreaded question… the one everyone asks when they greet a student on the brink of adulthood: “What are you going to do after college?” I may not know the specific answer to that question yet, but after this summer I can definitely say that my direction is much clearer. I spent the last three months working as a marketing and communications intern at the Eiteljorg Museum, and every minute spent here has been an enriching learning experience.

    Haley Stevenson, marketing and communications intern

    Having grown up in Indianapolis, I have many fond memories of going to the Eiteljorg with my mom when I was little. The opportunity to work at a place I had attended as a child is a bit mind-blowing! As a double major at Butler University, I could go many different directions post-grad. What drew me to the position open at the Eiteljorg was the opportunity for hands-on work, implementing creative projects and exercising my own ideas in a structured environment.

    Throughout the summer, I and another intern, Rachel Foley, worked together and separately on many different tasks. We interviewed band members who played at Summer Under The Sails and wrote about them in the Eiteljorg Blog, uploaded all sorts of content to the website and social media accounts, and learned how to use several different kinds of software commonly used in the field of marketing. We also helped promote and execute the Eiteljorg’s biggest event of the year: the Indian Market and Festival. During the festival, we saw all of our team’s hard work come to fruition. Artists from all over the U.S. came here to Indianapolis and commended the museum for its dedication to honest promotions of Native American art. The satisfaction we all felt after the festival weekend ended was well-earned; we put a lot of hard work into the preparation.

    Haley with Rachel Foley, marketing and communications intern

    In addition to all of these cool projects, Rachel and I had meetings with a member of almost every department at the museum where we learned about their position and how they came to work at the Eiteljorg. In what were probably the most enlightening conversations I had this summer, I learned that even if I don’t land my dream job right after college, or even if I’m not sure what that job would be, I could still end up working somewhere I love. It gave me an immense amount of comfort to talk to such an experienced team of employees who enjoy and are dedicated to their work.

    This summer, I was able to see firsthand the positive way non-profit employees can contribute to the surrounding community. There is no way I can know where I will be a year from now, but I am confident that the skills I have gained and practiced at the Eiteljorg will definitely help me find a job I can be satisfied in. To the marketing team and the rest of the staff who allowed me to work alongside them: thank you so much! I have learned a great deal about myself and I will miss working amidst such kind and devoted company.

  • Eiteljorg Insider | Why Interning at a Nonprofit Will Teach You More

    by Rachel Foley, marketing and communications intern | Aug 10, 2018

    Springtime, for most, is a joyous season. The frost has lifted, the birds are chirping and flowers are blooming. In the distance, however, if you listen carefully – you can hear the cries of college students as they anxiously search for the perfect summer internship that will magically catapult them into their dream career.

    Of course, there is no perfect internship. However, not all internships are created equal. For many, the ideal internship is at a big-name company.  Although there is merit in shooting for a highly coveted corporate internship, I am here to make the case for interning at a nonprofit (even if you do not want to work in this sector).

    Rachel Foley, marketing and communications intern

    My relationship with the Eiteljorg Museum started before my internship even began this summer. Although I’m a public relations student at Ball State University, I also work as a banquet captain at Kahn’s Catering, in which I have helped cater hundreds of events at venues including the Eiteljorg Museum. So when I came across an internship posting at the museum, I was instantly attracted.

    However, as a student with a background in digital web design, I was a bit apprehensive. My initial plan was to find an internship at a digital marketing agency. Still, I was familiar with the mission of the museum and decided to take a chance. Luckily, this experience has far exceeded my expectation. I have been challenged, pushed, given opportunities to contribute and felt truly valued by the staff here.  I do not think I could have had a better first internship experience – and I think interning at a nonprofit could be beneficial for any student in communications or business. This is why:

    1. You will work with people who truly love their jobs. People don’t join the nonprofit sector out of ambition or for the money. Those who work at nonprofit organizations did so because they found a mission they believe in. By surrounding yourself with fulfilled, passionate workers early in your career, you set the standard for what kind of job is best. Regardless of whether you stay in nonprofits, it is important to believe in and value your work.
    2. Goodbye to making copies, hello to actually learning. Oftentimes, nonprofit teams are small and close-knit. The marketing team at the Eiteljorg consists of just three employees and one or two interns. From day one, I have been expected to take on tasks of all kinds. From creating social media copy, to resizing images, designing graphics, making cold calls and writing for the blog, I have had the opportunity to try just about everything.
    3. Creativity is valued and appreciated. At nonprofits, money is always taken into consideration. Working on a tight budget teaches you to think about how to complete a task more rapidly and economically, without sacrificing quality. Although creativity can be valuable to any field, corporations with established protocol are less likely to encourage and reward such thinking.
    Rachel Foley, marketing and communications intern, speaks with Bryan Corbin, public relations manager, at the Market Morning Breakfast on June 22, 2018

    In truth, every young professional is different. However, my experience at the Eiteljorg has been rewarding beyond my expectations. It has been a fantastic first internship experience and I will really miss being able to work in such a beautiful space with this genuine, hardworking and caring staff.

  • Sheila Jackson, membership manager, retires from The Eiteljorg

    by Rachel Foley, marketing and communications intern | Aug 02, 2018

    Museum members are an irreplaceable linchpin to the Eiteljorg Museum’s sustainability. Through their annual contributions, donations and attendance, members help support museum events, exhibitions and programs.

    Building working relationships with members so they stay involved in the Eiteljorg museum is, quite literally, a full-time job. Sheila Jackson, the Eiteljorg’s membership manager, has focused on cementing the museum’s relationships with its members. Before her retirement this month, Sheila shares some of her experiences and parting thoughts with the Eiteljorg Blog.

    Sheila Jackson, membership manager, at the membership booth on Members' Night back in July

    In her seven years with the museum, Sheila has been an integral force in making the museum’s membership program robust. The work involves building relationships with all members at every membership level, since each one is invaluable to the Eiteljorg’s development. For Sheila, that has been one of the most rewarding aspects of her time at the museum

    Eiteljorg members are a proud community, excited to support the Eiteljorg’s mission: to inspire an appreciation and understanding of the art, history and cultures of the American West and indigenous peoples of North America.

    “We are the only Native American and Western museum in the Midwest – just highly unusual,” Sheila said. “When people come, they see how unbelievably gorgeous this place is and just how one-of-a-kind the museum truly is.”

    In her role as membership manager, Sheila continuously updates her membership database and sends out thank-you letters on a daily basis. “I (also) try to send materials of any current exhibition or event that’s going on,” she said. “If we have a new rack card for an event like Indian Market or a schedule of events, I’ll include that in the mailing.”

    In addition to her daily duties, Sheila also assists in planning events. This summer, she was the point person for the Perelman Gala, a celebration of the generous support Mel and Joan Perelman consistently offer to Native fine arts and the museum. Among other duties, Sheila wrote copy for promotional materials and coordinated with speakers and entertainment. The gala was a great success and was host to many long-time members.

    Although her first experience with museum membership work started just seven years ago, Sheila has flourished in the Indianapolis arts community for most of her career.  She graduated with an arts degree in graphic design and worked at the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis for 12 years.

    “After I left the Children’s Museum, I started my own business,” she said. “I painted murals commercially, in residences, did pet portraits, and painted furniture.”  Still, when approached with an opportunity to return to the museum world at the Eiteljorg, she was eager to give it a shot.

    Seven years later, Sheila has found a home here at the Eiteljorg. “I just love my coworkers; the people here are talented and creative – not to mention I get to work in a gorgeous building with beautiful artwork,” she said.

    “Sheila will be missed. Outside her daily membership duties, her artistic background added an unexpected special touch,” said Nataly Lowder, vice president for advancement. “For example, she created centerpieces for a recent membership exhibit opening. Members were asking if they could take them home. She constantly pitched in and went above and beyond, always trying to put the member first.”

    Another important aspect of her job has been to assist the Eagle Society – a highly involved group of Eiteljorg members who are especially passionate and supportive of the museum. These members are key contributors who support the museum with annual donation levels ranging from $1,500 to $25,000+. Sheila also works hard to build special programming and assist in planning events and home receptions for the Eagles each year.

    “The Eagle Society is incredibly important to the museum,” she said. “Many Eagles not only give through their membership, as most of them are also donors to specific exhibitions, projects, events and programs throughout the museum.”

    The Eagle Society and standard members alike get to be a part of a special museum. Basic membership at the Eiteljorg starts at just $70 for two adults and two guests – special benefits include unlimited admission throughout the year, free parking, a 15 percent discount at the Museum Store and a 10 percent discount in the café. Members also receive discounted or free admission to museum programs and festivals – including Indian Market and Festival – as well as access to member-only exhibition previews and special events. To learn more about membership, please visit

    Despite her retirement, Sheila has no plans to slow down. Instead, she looks forward to refocusing on other aspects of her life. “I have absolutely adored my time here at the museum, but I am excited to move on to illustrating a book that a friend has written and spending more time with my growing family. Another (grandchild) is on the way in November!” Sheila said.

  • Bloomington Herald Times looks at "Interwoven" and "The Reel West"

    by | | Jul 30, 2018
    The Bloomington Herald Times newspaper on July 29 published a lengthy article about exhibits at the Eiteljorg Museum, focusing on "Interwoven: Native American Basketry from the Mel and Joan Perelman Collection" and "The Reel West."  Read the article at this link:
    Bloomington Herald Times story 7.29.18

  • il Troubadore brings world music to the Eiteljorg

    by by Haley Stevenson, marketing and communications intern | Jul 30, 2018

    Dianna Davis
    il Troubadore will perform at the Eiteljorg on Aug. 1

    For the final Summer Under The Sails concert of the season Wednesday, Aug. 1, the Eiteljorg Museum is bringing back an audience favorite:  il Troubadore, whose diverse musical setlist spans the globe, and other worlds, too.

    Founded in 2004, the band has been entertaining audiences around the nation by playing an eclectic assortment of world music and sci-fi movie music. The Eiteljorg Blog had the chance to chat with Dianna Davis, who performs in the band on clarinet, accordion, flute, and vocals. In 2015, Davis joined Ron Fife (dumbek, bodhran, vocals) and founding band members Jon Silpayamanant (cello, vocals) and Robert Bruce Scott (vocals, mandolin).

    il Troubadore’s repertoire includes music from more than 60 countries, leading to their fitting tagline: “Putting the ‘world’ back into world music since 2004.”  When not dressed in costumes, the band members wear black and a color that represents “the country we were born in or where our family is from.” For example, members Robert and Ron both have Scottish heritage so they wear black and red plaids, a traditional Scottish decoration. For the band members, “It’s important to know where the music is from. I believe in intention, knowing the history and why we’re playing the music,” Davis said.

    The idea behind the band’s name comes from troubadours in the Middle Ages, traveling musicians who would compose and perform lyric poetry. “It’s the idea of old-school singing, like a 16th-century rock band. We sing everything from old European music and new music,” Davis said.

    Davis refers to il Troubadore as a “fusion band,” due to the fact that they play both world music and “out of this world” music, from and inspired by classic science-fiction films. One of the many languages they sing in is Klingon, a language created for the alien villains in the Star Trek franchise.  Two of the band’s side projects, “The il Troubadore Klingon Music Project” and “il Troubadore and the Wookiee Cellist,” have become part of the main set for many of their shows due to their audience popularity. Pictured above, (next to Davis in her Return of the Jedi costume) is Jon Silpayamanant as the Wookiee cellist, a fan favorite. Wearing an enormous furry Chewbacca costume, Silpayamanant is able to play standing up by using a half-size cello, which allows him to stay in character.

    il Troubadore at Summer Under The Sails 2017

    When asked what keeps il Troubadore coming back to the Eiteljorg, Davis says “I love venues like this that have a great way of getting people into the venue… I’ve come with a couple other groups and it’s a really fun and nice space to perform. It’s especially fun to do it in costume, because people are walking by and then they stop.”

    For il Troubadore, the Aug. 1 performance kicks off a busy series of concerts during Gen Con in downtown Indianapolis, when thousands of science fiction and fantasy fans descend on the city for several days of serious fun. Davis comments that “It’s so much fun to do the Eiteljorg show to kick off Gen Con week. It’s a good way for people who don’t want to pay a lot of money for Gen Con to see us, and it’s a fun way for us to get excited.”

    At the Eiteljorg performance, people can expect to hear “some familiar favorites — most people know the Star Wars music. They can expect to hear a lot of ‘Wookiee talk,’ which is always fun and people love that.” The band will also perform John Williams’ famous “Cantina Band” tune from Star Wars, which is hard to avoid getting up and dancing to. Aside from the sci-fi genre, il Troubadore will “introduce some music from other cultures that they maybe haven’t heard before; some music from the Middle East, some jazz . . . to give a diverse concert.”

    “In general,” Davis said, “I’m always trying to tell people that there’s a lot of great local music in Indianapolis. We’re trying to bring authentic, diverse music from different parts of the world to (the Midwest.) We do our best to be intentional and faithful to the musical styles we’re playing while having fun with it.” Davis enjoys both the variety of the band’s repertoire and the chance to be part of the music community here in Indianapolis.

    il Troubadore is ready to bring their best to The Sails on Aug. 1. The concert will conclude the Eiteljorg’s Summer Under The Sails concert series, which is free to all museum visitors from 6 to 8 p.m. with free admission to the museum itself starting at 5 p.m. Appetizers will be available for purchase at the museum café, as well as a cash bar.

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