USD alumnus uncovers Disney Archives
Walt Disney was famous for making dreams come true in his creation of beloved characters and building a Magic Kingdom beyond anyone’s wildest dreams.
USD alumnus Nick Vega’s dreams have come true by working for the Walt Disney Archives as the leader of the exhibits teams for the past three years. Vega was able to share his successes with the campus community Thursday, Oct. 9 through his presentation attended by members of the history department and other USD students. His presentation focused on his projects, both past and present, and the path he took to begin working for the Walt Disney corporation.
A graduate of USD in 2001, Vega majored in History with a focus on Latin American history. He realized through his time as an undergraduate that he wanted to obtain his Master’s degree at USD as well and graduated from the graduate program in 2004. His emphasis in public history helped propel him into a career in local museums including the Coronado Historical Society and the San Diego Historical Society.
During his seven years spent at USD, Vega volunteered for a variety of local historical groups which he believes was key in jump starting his career.
“If I could give you all a piece of advice, it would be to volunteer,” Vega said. “You will get your foot in the door and gain a great deal of experience through your work at local, small museums.
After gaining work experience in local museums for six years, Vega received the opportunity to apply for a position at the Walt Disney archives as the leader of the exhibits teams. After a lengthy six-month interview process, Vega was offered the position due to his wide range of experience in museum curating and credentials.
Vega went on to explain his role at the Walt Disney company with managing over 12 warehouses in the United States that are home to all things Disney. They include old documents, attraction vehicles from the Disney theme parks and other apparel and memorabilia. Although there are countless priceless objects in the Disney collection, Vega has a personal favorite.
“My favorite piece is the original four page contract that Walt Disney signed for his first 75 animation short films; it’s known as the ‘Holy Grail of Disney’,” Vega said.
Along with managing the warehouses across the country, Vega has been involved in the production of the Disney film “Saving Mr. Banks,” a Winnie the Pooh exhibit in Japan and the D23 convention, a Comic Con for Disney fans.
Throughout his presentation, Vega repeatedly cited the USD history department and professors as the basis for his post-grad successes.
“The opportunities to use your USD degree, history or otherwise, are endless,” Vega said. “And they start with the staff and curriculum right here.”