Home Again

A love of history and nonprofits led Natalie Singer to the Reitz Home

When Natalie Singer was a student at Scott Elementary School, the Reitz Home Museum was her ideal field trip destination.

“It’s one of my favorite field trips I ever had,” says Singer, who became the museum’s executive director June 3.

The North High School graduate always was involved with theater and choir and earned a Bachelor of Arts in theater from the University of Southern Indiana. Her ambitions led her to the Evansville Civic Theatre as a box office and business development manager.

“For me, it was kind of a natural transition into nonprofits because when I was working for smaller theaters, they operate the same way,” Singer explains. “It’s all about fundraising.”

She worked for Girl Scouts of Southwestern Indiana, Children’s Museum of Evansville, and WNIN before becoming the Henderson Area Arts Alliance’s executive director in 2020. She has spent 15 years working with nonprofits.

“I’ve been really lucky to have some incredible mentors as well over the years. And I think that’s part of what has kept me in nonprofit work … what I’ve learned from them,” she says.

Although in Henderson, Kentucky, she had the opportunity to stoke her passion for the arts, Singer still wanted to work in her hometown. When the executive director position opened up at the Reitz Home Museum, at 112 Chestnut St., she felt a calling.

“I was really intrigued. It just kept pulling me,” Singer says.

Her interest in history also attracted her to the position. John Augustus Reitz completed construction on his namesake home in 1871, and it stayed in his family through 1931. By the time the Reitz Home Preservation Society took over in 1974, it had been a private residence under the care of the Catholic Diocese of Evansville since 1944. Tess Grimm was the society’s first executive director until her retirement in 2011, followed by Matt Rowe, who left in January.

“Every single piece in here has a story, and I don’t know what any of those stories are yet. … I can’t wait to actually be able to spout off all the facts because there’s just so much to learn,” Singer says.

The museum’s September gala celebrates the preserva- tion society’s 50th anniversary, and Singer hopes to steer the nonprofit forward collaboratively. She also wants to cultivate partnerships between the museum and other Evansville-area nonprofits and organizations. Repairs and maintenance constantly are needed on the 153-year-old home, and Singer’s fundraising experience lends her qualifications to help the museum address those concerns.

“There are a lot of passionate people already connected to the museum,” she says. The home’s “history is so tied to the growth of Evansville. I’m so grateful for all the people who saw how amazing this home was and wanted to keep it standing. You’ve got a lot of people that are passionate about historic preservation here, and that is so important.”

PRESERVATION STATION

reitzhome.com

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