Bio coming soon.....
Ardath Lawson, Museum Educator & curator of Collections
Ardath was born in Bartlesville, OK, where her dad worked as an exploration geologist for Phillips Petroleum. But due to the ups and downs of employment in the oil industry her family ended up moving from Oklahoma to California, then back to Oklahoma, and from there to Texas, where Ardath would wind up spending the next 20-some years before making her way to Kansas. Despite all the moves Ardath grew up spending many happy weekends on her family’s property in rural Chautauqua County, KS, where she grew attached to the natural beauty and fascinating history of the area.
Ardath attended Texas A&M University in College Station, TX, graduating summa cum laude in 2005 with a Bachelor’s degree in Wildlife & Fisheries Sciences and a minor in Spanish. She stayed on with the graduate program at Texas A&M to earn an M.S. in Wildlife & Fisheries Sciences in 2009, with a concentration in ornithology. For her Master’s thesis she was lucky enough to spend two field seasons almost on the beach, investigating the impacts of oil and gas development on wintering grassland birds at Padre Island National Seashore, Texas. Later she worked as a field crew coordinator while surveying for endangered bird species in beautiful, remote, rattlesnake-packed areas of central and southwest Texas.
Having survived several seasons of field work and deciding that she wanted to pursue a career that would foster education and appreciation for nature, history, and science, in 2009 Ardath was accepted into the graduate studies program of the Museum of Texas Tech University (MoTTU), Lubbock. There she obtained an M.A. in Museum Science, while also earning a graduate minor in history with classes focusing on American environmental history, trans-Atlantic studies, and American religious history. As a MoTTU student worker Ardath had the opportunity to spend quality time with all ages and varieties of dead animals in the museum’s Paleontology division and Natural Science Research Laboratory. After finishing her coursework she took an internship as an education and programming intern at Lubbock Lake National Historic Landmark, a natural and cultural history center on the south plains of Texas.
Following the successful completion of her graduate studies at Texas Tech in 2011, Ardath accepted a job in Winfield, KS, as a private lands wildlife biologist with the nonprofit organization Pheasants Forever. There she worked in partnership with the Natural Resources Conservation Service and local conservation districts of Butler, Chautauqua, Cowley, Elk, Sedgwick, and Sumner counties. Besides helping to boost populations of quail, pheasant, and other Kansas wildlife, this job gave Ardath the chance to finally return to Kansas! After over two years of providing conservation education and technical assistance to rural landowners she accepted a job at the Kansas Oil Museum to pursue her other great interest, local history.
Since joining the staff in July of 2014, Ardath has been the museum educator and research librarian at KOM. Recently she has also assumed the job of curator and responsibility for the museum’s collections. Her various roles at the museum include, but are definitely not limited to: guiding tours, giving outreach presentations, designing educational activities for use at the museum and in classrooms, leading summer camps, putting on Family Fun Days, assisting visitors to the research library, looking up dead people in old newspapers, caring for library and museum collections, developing and putting up exhibits, trying to sound intelligent when visitors and researchers ask her questions, and writing most anything that needs to be written. In her spare time, which she has some of somewhere, she enjoys reading, creative writing, camping, haphazard road trips, and learning about anything and everything.
Bio coming soon.....