Undergraduate Student Blog, Speaking of Princeton

Undergraduate Student Blog

Author: Rachel Newman ’16

Paramus, New Jersey • Psychology View Profile

Preview and Art

Tours at the Princeton University Art Museum over Princeton Preview

Hello, hello, hello!

For those of you who attended the first Princeton Preview on April 10, you may have seen me leading a tour of our awesome Art Museum. 

I applied to be a student tour guide last spring (my freshman year), having no prior art history knowledge. Most of what drew me to the position was the opportunity to connect with diverse audiences (we offer 45-minute "Highlights Tours" to the public every Saturday and Sunday at 2 p.m.) and share with them my love of learning about art. The heads of the student guide program, which was actually started by a student a few years ago, run a week-long Art Boot Camp program over the break between finals and class, and for a week all of the new guides are immersed in the world of art, learning details about curation and the museum's collection. We are also taken on a trip to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, where we see other collections that relate to our pieces. 

During my training to be a guide, I learned that the Princeton University Art Museum opened in 1882 with a private collection of pottery. Since then, the collection has expanded to more than 72,000 pieces of art that get displayed on a rotating basis. We also have one of the most expansive collections of Chinese calligraphy and painting outside of China. 

At Preview, I gave a tour of the museum's most prized possessions, including a painting by Claude Monet and a silkscreen by Andy Warhol. My tour was followed by another tour led by an awesome guide, and it was a special collaboration with the LGBT center on campus. Next time you are on campus, stop by the museum and maybe we'll have an opportunity to meet.