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Caroline Culbert graduated with her bachelor’s degree in Classics with a concentration in Classical Archaeology in 2002. After earning her master’s in library science, Culbert has return to UNC as the assistant for Academic Programs at the Ackland Art Museum. Below, Culbert shares more about her present role at the museum and how studying Classics helped her get there.


Q Why did you study Classics as an undergraduate?

CC I took Latin classes in high school and just fell in love with Ancient Rome as I learned more about it. I found the parallels with our society to be especially fascinating.

Q What is your favorite memory of studying Classics?

CC I have vivid memories of our class translating Ovid outside under the trees in the spring time.

Q What are you doing now?

CC I work in the Academic Programs department of the Ackland, which is charged with supporting education and learning in the Museum. We do this through tours of the galleries, workshops for educators and programs that promote lifetime learning. My role lies in managing and interpreting all the various department records and  supervising our student workers. I like the work because it offers a lot of variety and allows me to take on tasks that relate to art and to information science.

Q How has studying the Classics influenced your career path?

CC Studying Classics gave me a real advantage over other applicants when trying to break into the museum world. With Classics, I have a background in not only art history, but history and literature. It’s a holistic way of learning about the past that is unfortunately rarely replicated in other disciplines.

Q What is the most fulfilling aspect of your work?

CC I have wanted to work in an art museum since I was a child, so it’s hard to pick just one thing. Still, I would have to say working with our student employees and interns is the most rewarding; their energy and enthusiasm is hard to ignore!

Q What advice would you give to a current undergraduate studying Classics?

CC Keep going and think creatively. In the past, I had many people ask why I was studying Classics and what I could possibly do with my degree. But I knew I wanted to use my Classics background to work in a museum, and I even though I didn’t follow the most traditional path there, I made it. And when I look back, I think it was my willingness to be flexible and be creative that made my entire career possible.