January 17, 2013

PSU Art Museum selects new educator


---- — PLATTSBURGH —  Pursuit of an education and a career holds Samantha Bellinger north of her native North Carolina.

The new museum educator at the Plattsburgh State Art Museum majored in art history at Dickinson College in Carlisle, Penn., graduating in 2007.

She completed a Margie and Nate Thorne Education and Collections Management Fellowship at the Shelburne Museum in Vermont in 2009.

“Whenever the museum was open, I was in the education department working with school kids and adult audiences,” Bellinger said.

“When the museum was closed for the season, I was in collections management, where I worked on starting the collections data base.”


Post-fellowship, Bellinger headed south to begin a doctorate program at the University of Maryland at College Park.

“After about a year, I realized my career path and my educational path didn’t mesh.”

Though she loved 17th-century Dutch art, the subject matter was the wrong track for the profession she wanted. So, she traveled back north to Skidmore College in Saratoga, where she is in the process of earning a master’s degree in arts administration.

“I’m finished with my coursework and am currently working on my thesis. I’m looking into how physical space of a gallery or exhibition can help or hinder learning for all visitors, specifically for schoolchildren.”

She most recently worked as an early-intervention consultant for the Department of Children and Families in Waterbury, Vt.

“I had always been keeping my eye out in the area for something more permanent than what I had done previously.”

The job at SUNY Plattsburgh opened upon the 2012 retirement of her predecessor, Marguerite Eisinger.

Bellinger researched the college and Plattsburgh area and phoned a few contacts she’d met through her Shelburne connection.


She was ecstatic to be selected for the post.

“My parents are very happy and very proud,” she said. “My father works for the University of North Carolina. He’s happy to have another academic (in the family).”

“In my first couple of days here, everybody has been incredibly helpful and really nice,” Bellinger said. 

“I’m very excited to continue expanding the programming and reaching more departments within the college, as well as community partners. 

“It’s wonderful,” she said her third day on the job. “I am trying to soak up as much information as possible.”

Getting to know the docents is first on her list.

“I need to know the docents before I can target that programming to make sure we’re really utilizing everyone’s talents.”

“(Her position) is everything I really wanted in a job and has such room to grow and tackle a whole lot of different projects and move as a group to an end goal.”

Many of her southern acquaintances ask her why she moved north.

“Everyone is really wonderful and lovely and really makes up for the cold weather,” Bellinger said.

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