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Alumnus Creates Exhibits at New York's Museum of American Financial History

Meg Ventrudo

"If anyone would have ever told me that I would be working at the Museum of American Financial History in the heart of the Wall Street area, I think I would have laughed," says Meg Ventrudo, M.A. History '94. Ventrudo originally planned to earn a Ph.D. after getting her master's degree so that she could teach at the college level. But once she started working at the museum, she never quite got around to those plans.

Ventrudo has been with the Museum of American Financial History in New York City for the past six years, spending the past three years as its director of exhibits and education. Ventrudo's favorite part of her job is its variety. "Every day, something different is happening," she says.

Ventrudo develops exhibits, which involves conducting research, arranging the exhibit objects, "and even painting the walls and moving showcases," she notes. She also develops and conducts education programs in the galleries and works with high school interns from the New York City Museum School. "The student visitors are from all areas of the city, state, and region, so it is always fun to conduct education programs," she says.

Ventrudo sometimes is called on to respond to inquiries and requests from filmmakers and the press, which has led her to appear on CNBC and the financial radio show The Dolans.

While at Mason, Ventrudo became interested in George Mason and his family. In fact, she was the George Mason Fellow at Gunston Hall and eventually wrote her master's thesis about George Mason's son John, who was a Georgetown businessman. She also worked on a project researching George Mason's business ventures and landholdings. "If I had known more about finance, I probably could have found more evidence of George Mason, the investor, rather than George Mason, the patriot," says Ventrudo.

Individuals with graduate degrees in the liberal arts who don't teach often look for other ways to use their knowledge. Witness Ventrudo's amazement at where she is. She advises graduate student candidates and recent history graduates to "be open to the possibility that you may end up in a totally different career setting--that's not always a bad thing."

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