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Ryan Elizabeth Bennert and her mother visit The Medici's Painter. Photo by J Caldwell.
Ryan Elizabeth Bennert and her mother visit The Medici's Painter. Photo by J Caldwell.

The Nasher Museum has been instrumental in shaping my Duke experience and life beyond my undergraduate years. During my first semester on campus, I joined the student advisory board, Nasher MUSE (Museum Undergraduate Student Exec). I served as chair of marketing and then president, and had the unique opportunity to learn the ins and outs of the museum. My curatorial pursuits led me to co-organize an exhibition with other students, Masculinities: Mainstream to Margins. In summer 2014, I received the Trent A. and Susan L. Carmichael Internship Grant to continue honing my curatorial skills, assisting in the preparation of an exhibition schedule for the Miró: The Experience of Seeing exhibition. I spent summer 2015 in Venice, Italy on a Duke-sponsored internship with the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, combining my Art History major and Italian minor in a professional setting. These academic and professional experiences would have been impossible without the Nasher. These days, you can find me in the Nasher Museum’s Academic Programs department, where I work to connect undergraduate students to the museum.

— Ryan Elizabeth Bennert, Duke Class of 2016

I grew up in the South. Conversations about the South are difficult. Art provides visual cues and is a really accessible medium through which to provoke these difficult conversations. You can’t have the full narrative of the South without its dark corners and skeletons. Art gives us a place to jump off and move forward. Some students find it easier to avoid talking about it, but the Nasher provides a safe place for conversation. Through art, we can reach some greater understanding, and move forward.

Ryan Elizabeth Bennert, student outreach and membership coordinator at the Nasher Museum, Duke Class of 2016
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