Shoppers in front of the large FAO Schwarz toy store, 59th Street and Fifth Avenue in New York

“My experience had a tremendous impact on my career….”

My experiencence as an FAO Schwarz Fellow at the Museum of the City of New York had a tremendous impact on my career. For two years I educated school students from all five boroughs about the fascinating history of their city.

As repositories of desks, chairs, toys, and other things that experienced the past firsthand and were used by people who lived long ago, museums are powerful in their ability to connect visitors to a way life separated from us by hundreds of years. My students were always incredulous to learn that these people were just like us; they had the same needs, but met them a little bit differently.

Now as a graduate student in the Winterthur Program in American Material Culture specializing in the very things I taught school children about every day, I strive to tell human stories about the past through the things people used and encountered daily.

For my master’s thesis, I am studying home life and the confluence of diverse cultural groups in early colonial Flushing, Queens. Today, Flushing is one of the most ethnically and religiously diverse neighborhoods in the world. My hope is to use my research to connect Flushing’s modern multi-cultural community to the town’s legacy of diversity.

My tenure as an FAO Schwarz Fellow was a career-making experience. It inspired me to dedicate my career to museums, education, and the interpretation of New York City’s history.

Lauren Brincat | Assistant Curator of Decorative Arts, New York Historical Society, NYC | FAO Schwarz Family Foundation Fellow at the Museum of the City of New York | 2012