Laura T. Souder
In the late 1950s a very young Laura Souder spent Saturdays with her father, Paul, at the Guam Museum at its Garden House location in the Plaza de España. In addition to dusting the artifacts, her interaction with museum attendant Thelma Glenn and hearing stories of Guam history from her father helped shape her career.
In 1976 the Guam Museum was severely damaged by Super Typhoon Pamela, and the collection was boxed up and moved to the Guam Library. Two years later Souder was hired to help put the museum back together. She obtained a grant to refurbish the Garden House and re-opened the Guam Museum with new exhibits. Souder then left to continue her education. She interned at various museums around the country, including the Bernice P. Bishop Museum in Hawai’i and the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC., and eventually earned a certificate in museology.
In 1982 while working on her PhD, Souder was hired again as the museum curator for one more year. During this time, she completed an inventory of items in the collection and created a card catalog with the help of volunteers, as well as a school presentation about Guam history called, “Windows of Chamorro Culture.” Working at the museum allowed her to recreate her childhood experiences, with stories in the garden about Guam history. Souder also produced brochures about Guam history and the Guam Museum that have been used over the years for various Museum-related events and activities.