CLACS Alum at September 11th Tribute Center

Esther Mares - CLACS AlumEsther Mares is a CLACS graduate who is now a Collections Assistant at the Tribute World Trade Center Visitor Center.

Esther graduated in January 2012 with an MA in Latin American and Caribbean Studies with a concentration in museum studies. She landed a job in her field before she even completed her last semester.

Esther came to NY from Las Vegas, New Mexico, and where studied archaeology and Spanish at the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque. She has also previously interned at the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C.

At CLACS, her MA thesis investigated the Museum of the City of Las Vegas and its role in producing local culture and Hispanic narratives. While at CLACS she also interned at the Rubin Museum and the Museum of the City of New York (MCNY).

The Tribute WTC Visitor Center, where she currently works, is a site where visitors can learn about the September 11, 2001 attack on the World Trade Center from those who experienced it. The WTC Visitor Center features exhibitions related to 9/11 and offers educational programming.

At the WTC Visitor Center, Esther helps make decisions about the exhibits, collaborates with volunteers – many of whom are 9/11 survivors or family members of 9/11 victims, and manages the museum’s collection of objects. She also hosts tours of the museum, many of them with young people. “I was really afraid to do tours with really young kids. But those are the kids I’ve been able to connect with the most!  A lot of them emotionally connect. The most surprising thing is they go back to the classroom, and their teachers follow up and say they’re still talking about it,” Esther says.

She also says she her education and training at CLACS prepared her for her current curatorial role. “I see a lot of parallels. While working on my thesis I thought about communities, and how they can be affected by historical events, tragedies. And I also thought about how museums can directly affect communities and the choices they make. I really see that here,” Esther says.

Visit the CLACS website to learn more about the CLACS MA degree with a concentration in museum studies.

Published by Von Diaz

Von Diaz is a writer and radio producer based in New York City. She is a self-taught cook who explores Puerto Rican food, culture, and identity through memoir and multimedia. Her work has been featured on NPR, American Public Media, StoryCorps, WNYC, PRI’s The World, BuzzFeed, Colorlines, and Feet in 2 Worlds.

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