Marie Curie unveils restored portrait of school’s namesake

Nov. 8, 2017

After nearly a decade awaiting restoration, Amsterdam’s Marie Curie Elementary School unveiled a restored portrait of its namesake – two-time Nobel Prize winner, Dr. Marie Curie, on Monday, Nov. 7 – which would have marked her 149th birthday.

The school, which opened in 1974 as the “Marie Curie Eastside Elementary School,” was named after the famous Polish scientist whose investigations led to treatments for cancer more than 100 years ago. In 2007, Marie Curie became the district’s second magnet school and changed its name to “Marie Curie Institute of Engineering and Communications.”

A portrait of Dr. Curie, purchased by the Greater Amsterdam School District, hung in the school’s main hallway for 34 years, until it became weathered and ruined over time. Local art conservationist, Hallie Halpern, was able to successfully restore the painting earlier this fall.

“We are excited and honored to share this iconic piece of school history with the Amsterdam community,” Principal John Penman said. “Dr. Curie’s contribution to the science field is inspirational to our students, who learn to combine their powers of observation with practical problem-solving skills at our school.”

To this day, Penman says the world-renowned scientist continues to be incorporated into the school’s curriculum in every grade level, and across all subjects. Through the “Marie Curie Unit,” students learn about Dr. Curie’s personal and professional life in classes such as English language arts (ELA), science, math and history.

“Marie Curie serves as a role model and serves as a great namesake for the building,” said Robert Mark, Director of Elementary Instruction. “This restored portrait, along with her name on the building, serves as a tribute to not only a great scientist, but an inspiration to the children who come to this school seeking their own paths into the future.”

Robert Mark and John Penman unveil the restored portrait. The portrait was restored by local art conservationist, Hallie Halpern.