Samantha Schafer grew up in Canadian, but her heart was always in the past. Her style and profession attest to her love of all things vintage. She blames her mother, Karen, for all of the great old movies they watched together while Samantha was growing up. She loved the artistry of the costumes, and how the clothes seemed to fit the mood or the character. At one point, she wanted to be a costume designer. After reading a biography of iconic costume designer Edith Head that included sketches from various production companies’ archives, she realized she was more interested in that process. Thus, began the path to archivist.
After graduating from Canadian High School, Samantha attended the University of Arkansas where she earned a B.A. in English in 2012. She continued on to earn a master’s of library science from UNT in 2014. She says, “I honestly applied to grad school because I didn’t know what I wanted to do with an English degree.”
Canadian called her home, and she began working at the Citadelle Art Museum part-time in March of 2015, going full-time that June. Citadelle Director Wendie Cook said, “Samantha is a natural organizer of all kinds of information. Those skills certainly helped us with our archival record-keeping. She also brought several creative education ideas to our staff, as well.”
After nearly four years, she is off to new adventures in Oklahoma City. Samantha was hired as the digital and institutional archivist at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum. Her areas of responsibility are vast, including but not limited to, all of the internal institutional records—which can consist of everything from architectural plans to marketing materials to board-meeting minutes to lists of volunteers, and so much more.
When asked what a typical day looks like for her, she replied, “The nice thing about this job is that there is no ‘typical’ day. For example, today, I processed records from an art sale roughly 10 years ago, attended a meeting, and helped the manuscript archivist process a new incoming special collection. That involved placing photographs that date between roughly 1880-1910 in protective Mylar sleeves and then acid-free folders, and also scanning and digitizing them. Sometimes, it’s spreadsheets and folders; sometimes, its tintypes and excessive Google-ing to find out who a certain historical figure was. I’m currently fascinated by Lucille Mulhall, who was the first ‘cowgirl.’ Will Rogers said that the word was supposedly coined just for her!”
Cook adds, “We [at the Citadelle] hear she is really enjoying her new position, and although we miss her, we are certainly Samantha supporters and wish her well in her new endeavors.”
If you’d like to see what Samantha is up to, the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum is located only 6 miles northeast of downtown Oklahoma City in the Adventure District at the junction of Interstates 44 and 35. The museum offers annual memberships beginning at just $40. For more information, visit the National Cowboy Museum website.