Museum Archivist Earned Her Stripes In Theater

By Stephanie Ritenbaugh
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Meet the Pittsburgh area woman who is blazing a trail in the arts with her unique career which highlights her passion for theater. As Dominique Luster shows, a theater major (in college) may be more useful than you think.


There’s no such thing as a bad workday at a museum, because you get to work with art every day.

Dominique Luster learned a similar lesson during her days in the world of theater, no matter what goes wrong, in the end, you get to come in and tell stories every day.

Luster has stepped into the recently created role of Charles “Teenie” Harris archivist at the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh. She will manage the work of the iconic photographer who chronicled Pittsburgh’s African-American community from the 1930s through the 1970s.

It’s a position that fits many of her interests. She has a master’s in library and information science from the University of Pittsburgh. Before that, she studied theater design and technology at the University of Kentucky.

“I did a co-op my senior year of high school. I went to one class and interned at the Actors Theatre of Louisville,” Luster said. “When there wasn’t a production, I worked in the school library. So I was meant to be a librarian.”

Stage design has been a long-standing passion. The Kentucky native was drawn to the art of lighting because “It’s probably the closest thing to magic we have. The lighting drives emotions, conceptualizes ideas and enhances audience reaction.”

Theater, as a whole, is “an extraordinarily useful major,” she said. “I am always hesitant to say that because I think a lot of parents out there would rather their kids be engineers or doctors or lawyers.”

She took classes on diction, speech and vocal production and learned how to “stand in an empty space by yourself and command a room.”

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