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backstory50: Training the next generation

The Neuberger Museum of Art has always trained students in curatorial practice and the student-curated exhibition has long been a hallmark of that training.

One of my firmest beliefs about training young curators is that they should start, not with the theory or practice of curating, but rather with the practice of registration and preparation. Without having actually participated in the tracking of objects moving through the building, seen a shipment of artwork come off a truck, painted a pedestal, or changed a lightbulb in the galleries, it’s simply impossible to understand what you are asking of the people with whom you are working to care for collections and make exhibitions. Curators who are trained without these experiences are trained in a vacuum and wind up, frankly, not playing nicely with others in the galleries.

See examples of the MANY student-curated shows the NEU has held over the years on this Inside the NEU profile.

Tracy Fitzpatrick
Director, Neuberger Museum of Art

P.S. Learn more about the practices of registration and preparation in these videos with former Registrar Patricia Magnani ’85 and current Associate Preparator Jose Smith ’94.


Orange square with a white border and large numbers 50 with small letters neu overlapping the top of the 5 and the word Years beneath


Watch for a new backstory every Wednesday and follow us on social media as we share stories about the Museum’s history, our evolution to the present day, and look ahead to our exciting future. Stay up-to-date with the latest news and “NEU 50 Years” updates on our anniversary webpage.