Planes, Streetcars, and Earthmobiles:
A Hildegarde Howard Society Member on the Move
Ester Osder at last summer's "Breakfast with the Butterflies."
Ester Osder sets her coffee down and leans close to reveal a secret: "When I was a little girl, I used to love to twirl around on the bars that protected the Museum's dioramas."
It is easy to see the spirit of that little girl in the elegantly dressed woman today. Having grown up in Depression-era Los Angeles, Ester has been coming to the Museum since that time and has always seen it as an exciting place to visit. "It feels so familiar to me—I can relate to so much of it, particularly pieces in the collection such as the streetcar, which I can remember using," she mused nostalgically.
Today Ester has traded in her streetcar for a plane, regularly winging her way around the world. Within the past year she has been to Antarctica and Alaska and has plans to visit Barcelona soon.
Not only has Ester expanded her scope of exploration, but the Museum has expanded its frontiers as well, with programs such as the Earthmobile that takes the Museum into the classroom, reaching students beyond its own borders. Ester comments that it is so important to have programs such as the mobile classrooms that go out to the schools. "So often students are stuck in those square-boxed schools and have little contact with nature," she said.
She credits Dr. Jane Pisano, the Museum's president and director, as doing a great job getting the Museum's programs to the public, again pointing to the positive influence of the Earthmobile, which "provides education and sparks an interest to know more."
Last year Ester joined the Hildegarde Howard Society and was presented her Society lapel pin by Dr. Pisano at the Dinner with the Dinos Fellows event in May. Ester set up her trust in the early 1990s and wanted to leave what she could to the Museum as a beneficiary. She wanted to make the gift unrestricted, she said, because she "is not in a position to know where it is needed the most." What is most important, she adds, is that "The Museum has always been here, and I want to make sure it stays here."
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 estate and planned gifts of the Society members, from unrestricted gifts like Ester's to bequests that support particular interests. For more information on planned-giving opportunities at the Museum, please call Nicole Dunn, senior major gifts officer, at (213) 763-3355.
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