Meet the Team: Marlene Kehler

Marlene Kehler

Art and Education have always been an integral part of Marlene’s life. She chose classes in pottery, metal work, jewelry and art history while growing up in Connecticut. During Marlene’s college years at Simmons University in Boston, she frequented the Isabella Stewart Gardiner Museum, which was just across the street. She especially enjoyed the plant filled courtyard which bloomed vibrantly in the dead of winter. She fondly remembers the spectacular, orange hanging nasturtiums in the courtyard that celebrate Isabella Gardiner’s birthday every April.  Marlene majored in Education and later received her masters at Cornell University in Textiles and Fiber Science with a minor in Design. Marlene continued her studies  in post graduate work in Psychology and Child/Human Development.

Teaching has been a part of her life in many settings beyond college and graduate studies, including public school administration, a volunteer with the Girl Scouts, schools and churches throughout her life. She had a career in teaching college students in retail merchandising in Boston, and later in public-school administration in Texas, where she also raised her family.  Marlene and husband spent their honeymoon and later vacationed in Maine. It was a natural choice in retirement because Marlene’s husband was an avid year round sportsman and together, they enjoyed every season in Maine from skiing to gardening.

Marlene has been a docent at the Farnsworth for eighteen years. She has served as secretary to the Farnsworth Docent team for ten years. Being a docent provides her with a wonderful opportunity to continue learning about and enjoying art while implementing her love of teaching with the school groups that visit the museum. To her surprise, her favorite age groups are the first, second and third graders who are not afraid to express their opinions and arrive without any pre-conceived notions. One of her favorite memories at the Farnsworth was when she assisted then curator, Janice Kasper, in cataloguing the extensive collection of Lucy Farnsworth’s clothing and personal items. Marlene’s expertise in textiles was invaluable.  She identified the various types of lace and fabrics in the clothing. She recalls the fancier dresses were made in dark colors of burgundy, navy and black and notes that not many day-clothes survived due to the natural wear of the period.  When not at the Farnsworth, Marlene volunteers at AIO Food pantry, church, and enjoys cooking and baking for family and friends.

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