Museum Council

Member interview with Julie Madjar

Julie recently sat down with Hadley Powell, vice chair of Membership for the Museum Council Steering Committee.


What brought you to Boston? What do you do for work or hobbies?

I grew up in Santa Barbara, California, and came to Boston as a college student many years ago. (I’m still holding on to my West Coast “non-accent.”) I work in human resources for a global asset management firm, and have also worked in the technology sector.

I love that Boston has so much to offer in terms of art, architecture, history, diversity of people, food, and scenery. I enjoy how easily accessible the arts are in Boston, compared to other places I’ve lived or visited. There are so many opportunities to socialize and get involved. Cooking and travel are hobbies that are at the top of my list. Last year I visited South America for the first time, and this year I’m going on safari in South Africa.

How long have you been involved with the Museum Council? Why did you join?

I have been a member of the MFA for many years, and I joined the Council about two years ago. I’m not sure what took me so long! I was invited to a few events, where I discovered many friends were already Council members and I realized I was missing all the fun!

Which aspects of the Museum Council surprised you when you joined?

I’ve been motivated to use my membership a lot more, not only to attend programs and learning opportunities organized by the Council, but also to make a quick stop at the MFA to see an artwork on loan or a small exhibition. Some of the lectures and talks I’ve attended are great for taking a deeper dive into the material. And, of course, there’s the camaraderie of Council members—and getting to know new friends at the Museum and beyond.

Which Museum Council events have you particularly enjoyed?

A special benefit of being a member is the opportunity to see exhibitions before they open to the public. Another highlight that comes to mind is the big reception for the unforgettable “Mario Testino: In Your Face” exhibition, as well as the dinner last spring for “Botticelli and the Search for the Divine,” which made me want to book a flight to Florence immediately.

What is your favorite piece of artwork in the Museum's collection?

I have many favorites in the MFA’s collection. One that stands out for me is Mary Cassatt’s The Tea (about 1880), along with the silver tea service on view near the painting, which I learned also belonged to the Cassatt family. Seeing the painting and tea service displayed together brings an energy to the viewing experience. I didn’t really give this concept much thought until I had a similar experience last year when I saw “Matisse in the Studio,” which featured so many of the artist’s belongings.

Beyond these pieces, I have another completely opposite favorite that I must mention…Christian Marclay’s 24-hour video The Clock (2010). When it was first on view many years ago, I remember going at various times of day. Then, last fall, it was so interesting to see it again, this time during the wee hours at one of the Museum’s all-night events. I must say, the 3 am material is vastly different from the 3 pm material! It is a fascinating work of art.