NYU Program in Museum Studies has a unique internship opportunity at NYU's base in Florence at Villa La Pietra . Set on a 57-acre estate located on one of the foothills surrounding Florence, La Pietra is composed of five villas and one of the most beautiful gardens in Italy. The main villa, Villa La Pietra houses the Acton Art Collection and is a historic house and collection which evokes the life of expatriate Americans in Florence in the first part of the twentieth century.
At the death of Sir Harold Acton in 1994 he bequeathed La Pietra and his fortune to New York University , in order that the villa and its collections could be preserved, and the 57-acre estate, including four other villas, could be used for academic purposes. Currently the academic program is open to undergraduate students from NYU and other universities and covers many areas including economics, political science, business and sociology, as well as Italian Renaissance Art and Tuscan Gardens. NYU has carried out remarkable renovations at Villa La Pietra which have involved extensive maintenance work, as well as the restoration of works of art and furnishings, including the conservation of the wall hangings and tapestries which were in urgent need of attention. The villa is officially listed as part of the Cultural Heritage of Italy. The fine library of some 10,000 volumes has been catalogued and archivists are at work on the historic Acton family archives and photo collection. A careful restoration program is under way of the garden so that, in a few years time, it will regain the appearance it had at the height of its splendor in the late 1930s. Another historic villa on the estate, Villa Sassetti, has been carefully restored to provide a modern conference centre.
Each summer Museum Studies interns work at the Villa, participating in all aspects of its running from public programming and events to documenting and cataloguing the art collection in the house and garden. There are further opportunities to research the collections, participate in conservation projects and work on development of fundraising for the estate.