Tahsler ’08 mixes art and education at New York’s premier museum
Housing one of the world's most impressive collections of fine art, New York City's Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum is a remarkable place. But for Natalie Tahsler '08, walking past a couple of van Gogh's best works isn’t a tourist excursion; it’s a day on the job.
The William Smith senior, who plans to one day be a museum educator, is interning in the education department with the on-site school program, charged with observing and assisting school tours and workshops and lending a hand with a variety of other tasks. In addition, Tahsler tries to soak up as much experience as she can from her knowledgeable and dedicated colleagues.
“Once a week all the interns meet for a museum culture seminar,” she said. “We spend the day talking to museum staff and visiting nearby museums. Last week we had two curators give us a tour of the Space of Shapes exhibition at the Guggenheim and then we visited The Cloisters, a branch of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.”
Tahsler, an anthropology major with an art history minor, researched the internship on the Guggenheim’s Web site before beginning the rigorous application process.
Although she's been on the job only a month, Tahsler is already experiencing some of the great culture the museum has to offer. “The most notable experience so far was being able to volunteer at First Friday at the Guggenheim,” she said. “On the first Friday of each month the museum is open to the public at night. The event is catered and a band plays. It was interesting to see the museum turned into a social event.”
Tahsler credits her HWS education with providing the skills she needs to succeed at her dream career in museum education. “The classes I have taken have given me solid background information that is crucial to the internship,” she said. “The education program at HWS has well prepared me to understand the philosophy and techniques of teaching.”
For Tahsler, it is rewarding to see the beginning of her career take shape. “I am fortunate to have this internship. It gives me a unique opportunity to work in a prestigious art museum and I am going to take away many career skills and the experience of working with talented educators.”