She did her master's thesis on 19th century children's tea sets, how children played with them and what they learned from that play.
Now Nina Ranalli, 25, of Cape May Court House, is using the skills she learned at the University of Delaware's joint program with the Winterthur Museum in her new job as curator and grants administrator at the Naval Air Station Wildwood Museum. She will oversee the museum's collection of aircraft, engines, artifacts, papers and ephemera.
"We were taught methods to look at any object and learn about it - where it was made and who made it," she said. An understanding of kids' play helps with interactive exhibits, she added.
Her bachelor's degree is in social studies from Harvard University, where she got interested in how people remember and commemorate history. That led her to museum work.
A 2006 graduate of Middle Township High School, Ranalli grew up in Rio Grande with mom Kathleen "Kate" Corcoran, the school nurse at MTHS, and sister Jayme, 27, who graduated from Princeton and is now studying in Harvard Medical School. She and her sister were constant readers, she said, crediting her parents with instilling a love of learning by reading to them.
Corcoran died in 2009, and when Ranalli finished Harvard in 2010, she took a year off to spend time with family and work at Cold Spring Village in Lower Township and at the NASW museum.
Dad Ed Ranalli, of Erma, runs Future Tech Computer Center in Rio Grande. Ranalli lives with her aunt, Susan Cawley, who runs Concord Suites in Avalon; and her uncle, Ted Cawley, a teacher in the Lower Township School District.
Oakcrest Wall of Fame
The 2013 inductees to The Oakcrest High School Athletic Wall of Fame are: Joanna Coe ('07) soccer, golf; Lisa Jones ('06) cross country, indoor track, track and field; Kathy Shea Bourbeau ('76) hockey, basketball, softball; Michael Petuskey ('77) football, baseball; and the late Bill Petuskey ('73) football, baseball.
An induction dinner will be held at Mays Landing Golf and Country Club 4:30 p.m. Oct.18, followed by unveiling of plaques near the school gym at 7 p.m. and presentation of inductees at the Falcon's football game with Mainland, beginning at 7:30 p.m. Dinner tickets are $30 for adults, $15 for children. Call 609-625-1462.
Gabriella DeStefano, 11, of Dorothy, received an honorable mention award for her original story with a moral in the May 2013 Cricket League writing competition, the magazine announced. Her name appears in the Cricket League section of the October 2013 Cricket magazine, and her story is posted at www.cricketmagkids.com/contests.
Michelle Brunetti Post writes about the lives, careers and good deeds of South Jersey residents Sundays, Mondays and Wednesdays in 'Everyone Has a Story.' To share your story, call 609-272-7219 or email MPost@pressofac.com