A Natural Fit: Mrs. Betty Tauer and the Natural History Museum
After arriving in Los Angeles from the Midwest in the early 1950s—with a brief whistle stop in Reno—Betty Tauer immediately made the Natural History Museum her first sight to see and has kept coming back ever since. She is a particular fan of the California History Hall, and she and her husband, who was a jewelry maker, also enjoyed the Gem and Mineral Hall
Though Betty's love of the Museum has led to thoughts of wishful and wistful larceny—notably during a visit with her then-high-school-aged son, when she briefly considered grabbing her favorite painting and running out—she and her husband have added several pieces to the Museum's collection, including a Navajo saddle blanket
Betty's interest in the Natural History Museum is, well, a natural, considering her professional background. She has received three National Science Foundation (NSF) grants and taught science at the University of Iowa. Among her NSF projects was one in which she conducted river studies of tidal flow
Her personal life also reflects an interest in the natural world. Betty and her husband went to the mountains on their first date
Though Betty has a master's degree in counseling and guidance, was the head counselor for the L.A. Schools, and has worked with vision-impaired patients at both the University of Nebraska and in Beverly Hills, she has a joie de vivre that keeps her from taking life too seriously. "I haven't done anything earthshaking, but I've had a good time," she says, a smile on her face
Achievement in the academic arena continues to the next generation. Betty's son went to Beverly Hills High School and received his doctorate from the Natural History Museum's neighbor, USC
Among the organizations Betty supports in addition to the Natural History Museum are the Motion Picture and Television Fund, the Arboretum, and the Los Angles Zoo, but NHM is her favorite
Betty's gift is unrestricted because she has a "great deal of trust in the Museum leaders—they know where it needs to go," she says
The Hildegarde Howard Society is named in honor of one of the Museum's most beloved scientists, Dr. Hildegarde Howard (1901-1998). Her legacy of scholarship and exploration is carried on through the gifts of the Society. For more information on planned-giving opportunities at the Museum, please call the Office of Planned Giving at (213) 763-3306.
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