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Staff Spotlight: Melissa Sheinheit

Meet Melissa Sheinheit, Assistant to the Director of the Neuberger.

Melissa Sheinheit serves as the Assistant to the Director of the Neuberger on campus and brings with her a wealth of knowledge and practical experiences from her previous positions at Sotheby’s and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. We are excited to have her here at Purchase College and look forward to her contributions to the community, and the Neuberger, moving forward. Welcome, Melissa!

What initially made you look into/ drawn to Purchase College and the Neuberger?

Purchase College has been on my radar for a long time: I grew up in Westchester, and Purchase is where the super talented “artsy” kids went after high school. I was excited to discover how close the Neuberger was to us when I moved with my family to Rye Brook in 2021: I have worked in the arts my whole career, so arts institutions are always on my radar when I’m in a new place. I felt that I had found a unicorn when I saw the job posting for my position at the Neuberger: how lucky to find a workplace where I could apply my skills and experience in the setting of a vibrant college campus with a dream commute, just a few minutes’ drive!

What did you study/where? Where did you work previously?

I studied Classical Civilization at Boston University. The discipline brought together what had previously felt like disparate interests in history, language, literature, and art. Towards the end of my undergraduate career, I discovered art history, and things really clicked for me when I realized it was ancient art and material culture that had really captured my interest in my studies.

My first job after graduation was at the auction house Sotheby’s. Working there exposed me to a group of passionate experts; I was continually surprised by how their knowledge and excitement in turn excited me about all manner of things, from silver candlesticks to Impressionist paintings to Japanese netsuke. You never knew what you would see next there!

Before coming to the Neuberger I worked at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, primarily in the Greek and Roman Art department. In this position I was able to apply and develop my experience in arts administration while working with ancient art, my passion from my undergraduate studies.

Tell us a bit more about your position.

I am the assistant to the Director of the Neuberger Museum of Art, Tracy Fitzpatrick. As the director of the institution, her work is all-encompassing of the Museum’s mission, and I work to facilitate all that she does. I feel I’m working at my best when I’m taking things off of her plate so that she can focus on the bigger picture concerns of running a museum, and facilitating the work of the whole team in any way that I can. My primary responsibilities include scheduling Tracy’s time and meetings for Museum staff members, managing the administrative work for the Museum’s Board of the Friends of the Neuberger Museum of Art, a dedicated group of outside volunteers which supports the Museum, and I pitch in on many of the tasks and projects that keep our staff busy and the Museum lively!

What current projects or activities are you currently involved with?

Like the entire Neuberger staff, I’m mostly focused on the many exhibitions and programs on the calendar for 2024, the Neuberger’s 50th anniversary year! The Museum has been developing plans for how to acknowledge our history, celebrate our present, and step boldly into the future, and we will be putting those plans into action in the coming months. Look for a series of exciting exhibitions, programming focused on the Museum and collaborating with groups around campus, and online content that will provide an inside and in-depth look at the Museum’s past, present, and future. It’s an exciting time for me to have started at the Neuberger!

Save the date: April 17th, 2024 will be the 50th Anniversary Celebration of the Neuberger  for the Purchase College community!

Are there future projects you are interested in collaborating on or those in the idea stage you are hoping to see to fruition?

The Neuberger has begun implementing its Strategic Plan, which articulates the Museum’s mission, values, and overarching goals, and outlines how we plan to achieve them in the coming years. We will need to continue to monitor our progress in reaching these goals, and tailor our work to prioritize supporting them. I look forward to seeing this work through and being a part of the Neuberger’s future.

A fun fact about Melissa is that she attempts the New York Times Crossword puzzle every day!