Alumni Stories: Marla Dobson

Currently the Curator, Collections and Curatorial, Indigenous Affairs and Cultural Heritage Directorate with Parks Canada, Art History alumna Marla Dobson (Ph.D. '18) calls her position her "dream job". After earning a Master's Degree in Museum Studies from the University of Toronto, Dobson's passion for art grew; before joining the Government of Canada, she was Assistant Curator of Canadian Art at the Agnes Etherington Art Centre. 

In her Alumni Story, Dobson talks about the importance of keeping an open mind, and the right way to approach a graduate program:

Interview with Marla Dobson, Queen's Art History Ph.D. '18


"After completing my Master’s Degree in Museum Studies, I was lucky enough to spend some time in the UK, where I found myself drawn to the art galleries, rather than the history museums, which I had thought were my passion. Art became central to my thinking about history, and I knew then that I wanted to learn more. I had always wanted to work in the museum sector, and envisioned a continuation of that goal after completing a Ph.D.

"My professional museum work experience prior to the degree was extremely helpful to advance my goal, as was my part-time work at the Agnes Etherington Art Centre throughout the Ph.D. process. This workplace experience, combined with the completed degree, gave me a much-needed edge in an incredibly competitive employment field."

"After a number of years spent exploring my options in various museum roles, I finally landed my dream job as a Curator with Parks Canada. In this role, I oversee the national collection which supports National Historic Sites across the country. While this work is more in line with the cultural heritage sector than art, I utilize the skills I developed at Queen’s University every day.

"My advice? Keep your options open and your foot in the door of the professional world. Treat your time in grad school as an unparalleled learning opportunity and not a means to an end. These are unprecedented times of struggle, job insecurity and a competitive marketplace, especially in academia. Go in with your eyes and your heart open and enjoy these years for the gift that they are!"


Looking For More?

All Alumni Stories

Interview Series

Share Your Story

Email Us