Remembering Denver Hayes

By: Kathy Kelsey Foley, director on May 13th, 2020

For many who visit the Woodson Art Museum, interactions typically include Visitor Services staff, Gallery Guards, and volunteers – Greeters, Docents, and Gardeners. Our frontline “crew” brings a wide range of experiences to these encounters coupled with personality traits that make for lasting impressions.

Denver Hayes, a Woodson Art Museum Gallery Guard for more than twenty years, passed away last week. While we mourn his death, we celebrate not only his dedication to the Museum, but also his chipper, can-do attitude.

From my perspective, Denver embraced the routine aspect of his work at the Woodson. He preferred only morning shifts and you could set your watch to his arrival time, Tuesday through Friday mornings. He arrived with a smile and a cheerful “good morning” for everyone he encountered; he left at Noon with a bounce in his step and a “see you tomorrow.”

I often met up with Denver at the staff coffeepot. He mostly called me “boss,” adding a gratuitous, “you don’t mind, do you?” I didn’t, because it was Denver and I think he knew that. He kept asking me, nevertheless.

As the news of Denver’s passing is shared, many will reflect on their own “Denver stories,” cognizant of the fact that he was a Woodson Art Museum fixture, at the ready to assist, but first and foremost in the galleries and on the grounds to watch over artworks and ensure the safety of all visitors.

We’re grateful for Denver’s commitment to the Woodson, its staff, and visitors, and we extend our heartfelt sympathies to his family.

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