Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

Arts/Entertainment

November 8, 2007

Andover museum buff takes over Tsongas Industrial History Center

Andover resident Beryl Rosenthal fell in love with museums at a young age.

"I remember walking into the American Museum of Natural History and seeing this huge stuffed elephant," she recalls. "It was love at first sight."

Rosenthal joined the American Association of Museums when she was about 20. Since then, she has made her passion into a career, working in museum education for most of her professional life.

On Sept. 1, Rosenthal was named director of the Tsongas Industrial History Center, a partnership between the University of Massachusetts Lowell Graduate School of Education and the Lowell National Historical Park, located at the Boott Cotton Mills Museum in Lowell.

"This is an absolutely remarkable partnership," she says. "A national park and a state university are two massive entities coming together around education."

The center focuses on Lowell's industrial history and its technology. The program is for students in grades six through 12. About 60,000 students from New England, New York and Pennsylvania visit each year. The center also provides workshops and resources for teachers.

The new position fits nicely with Rosenthal's interest in hands-on versus classroom learning.

"There is something very powerful about a sense of place. That's why historic parks and battlefields and museums are so important," Rosenthal says. "The experience is tangible."

Rosenthal grew up in New York, and no, she's not a Yankees fan, she's quick to say; she's actually a St. Louis Cardinals fan. She lived in Brooklyn and Rockaway Beach. She's been in Andover for nine years. Rosenthal moved here after taking a job as the director of museum education for the Robert S. Peabody Museum of Archaeology at Phillips Academy on Main Street.

Rosenthal received her bachelor of fine arts degree from The Parsons School/the New York School for Social Research and a doctorate in anthropology from SUNY/Buffalo. Between New York and Andover, she did some bouncing around, living in Arkansas, Maryland, Indiana, and even Mexico.

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