Rebecca Jacobson

Job title: 
Class of 2022
2022 John Gardner Fellowship
Placement: Oakland Museum of California
Placement Location: Oakland, California

Rebecca Jacobson (she/her) was born in Minot, North Dakota, but spent most of her childhood in Southwestern Germany because of her parents’ military service. Before coming to UC Berkeley, Rebecca worked at the local Boys and Girls Club of America and taught at the local elementary school through her school’s Career Practicum program. At UC Berkeley, Rebecca majored in Sociology with a focus on welfare and education. Outside of her academic studies, Rebecca worked as a classroom aid at the Oakland Unified School District and also as an educator at the San Francisco Children’s Creativity Museum. She also volunteered at the Berkeley Suitcase Clinic, a humanitarian student organization that offers free health and social services to underserved populations, and Ruby’s Place, a local shelter for survivors of domestic violence.

In her second semester at Berkeley, Rebecca discovered her passion for museums when she began working at the Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology. Working in the collection, education, and registration departments exposed Rebecca to the inner workings of a museum. During the summer of 2020, Rebecca created an educational video series, called “Anthro at Home.” In these videos, she introduced archaeology concepts through activities that children could do at home during quarantine. She also researched museum student committees across the United States to advise for the creation of a Hearst Student Committee, allowing her to gain an understanding of how different museums function and how they are working towards being more inclusive, representative spaces. She also learned how museums can exacerbate harm to those populations they seek to study. Despite the passage of the Native American Graves and Repatriation Act in 1990, museums continue to stake claims to objects of cultural significance that were gathered unethically. The pain that museums have caused these communities

goes past the objects and extends to their educational programs, which is why

Rebecca aims to create inclusive programming that works with communities to tell their own stories and reconcile with museums’ western heteronormative past.

As a Gardner Fellow, Rebecca hopes to find a placement that bridges the gap between a traditional experience in the museum sector with public service that seeks to address past harms done to disadvantaged communities and to engage in community outreach.

Research interests: 

Major(s): Sociology and Social Welfare

Minor(s) Global Poverty and Practice and Education