University of Kansas graduate student first to receive U.S. Embassy internship for Tarapoto, Peru, museum

LAWRENCE, KS (05/29/2012)(readMedia)-- Braden Conrad-Hiebner, a University of Kansas graduate student, is the first recipient of a U.S. Embassy internship for study at the National University of San Martin's Regional Museum in Tarapoto.

The internship is one of three offered this year by the U.S. Embassy in Lima to promote study of Peru's rich cultural heritage and the first ever to be offered at the museum in Tarapoto.

Conrad-Hiebner, who is working on master's degrees in anthropology and in museum studies at KU, will be working in Peru from May 30 to June 16.

He is the son of Robert Hiebner of Henderson, Neb., and of Denese Hoegh of Hampton, Neb. Conrad-Hiebner earned bachelor's degrees in history, German and secondary education from Bethel College in North Newton.

At KU, Conrad-Hiebner is completing the Berkley Internship for the Arts and Cultures of the Americas, Africa and Oceania department in KU's Spencer Museum of Art.

"I'm interested in collaborative partnerships between museums and indigenous communities; specifically, using the museum as a space for engagement and serving indigenous community needs by providing access to objects within museum collections," Conrad-Hiebner said.

In Tarapoto, he will conduct an inventory and conservation assessment of the Regional Museum's collection providing a foundation for the museum's future plans. He will also explore future collaborative work between the Regional Museum and the Spencer Museum of Art in presenting the Spencer's collection of objects from the Upper Amazon.

His museum internship will be directed by Bartholomew Dean, KU associate professor of social anthropology and director of research for anthropology at the Regional Museum of the National University of San Martin.

Although this is the 10th year that the U.S. Embassy in Lima has sponsored an internship program for American graduate students of museum studies and conservation program, it is the first year an internship was offered for the museum program in Tarapoto.

The Embassy learned of the museum's need for support through KU associate professor Dean, a 2011-12 Fulbright teaching fellow at the National University of San Martin. The Embassy worked with Dean to develop a unique internship opportunity for a U.S. student.

The embassy program is designed to support well-qualified graduate students with opportunities to gain firsthand experience working with pre-Hispanic artifacts. The embassy's internship program supports museums that house rich art collections but are greatly in need of skilled professionals.

The National University of San Martin was established in 1979 and its Regional Museum opened in 1993 to promote and strengthen anthropological research in the San Martin region and the Peruvian Amazon.