Tag Archives: volunteers

The Helping Hands Behind Origami Success

Posted on March 04, 2020

Throughout three origami exhibitions that concluded March 1, the Woodson Art Museum welcomed more than 1,100 students during class visits. Before closing – or folding – the book on origami and turning to upcoming exhibitions being installed this week., I’d like  to take this opportunity to acknowledge the efforts of the Museum’s volunteer docents who guided students during the past twelve weeks.

Birds and “Big Ideas”

Posted on October 02, 2019

Each year, as Birds in Art inevitably sneaks up on me, I consider ways to share and interpret the avian-themed artwork with Museum docents, visiting students, and program participants. The annual process of looking for serendipitous themes or popular subjects in Birds in Art begins in May, when fellow curator of education Lisa Hoffman and I view small, printed images of exhibition artworks spread out on the library table by administrative manager Shari Schroeder.

Showing Bests Telling

Posted on April 03, 2019

Finding ways to excite and intrigue students means getting creative. In my experience, the popular writing adage “it’s better to show than tell” applies when developing content for guided gallery experiences.

Docent Debut

Posted on March 08, 2017

The Woodson Art Museum is really, truly BTYB – Brought To You By –  volunteers.

Dedicated, generous, curious, and enthusiastic volunteers make visitors feel welcomed, add beauty to our grounds, and engage thousands of school children each year.

Here Come the Holidays

Posted on December 14, 2016

Typically, the prospect of the holiday season isn’t one I’m enchanted by. Gift giving? Not my strong suit. Christmas music? Pass. Snow? Please. Side effects of the holiday season include five extra pounds, mandatory cheer, and sometimes hairy travel across state lines. I’m not a total Grinch, though; one seasonal symptom I can appreciate is a renewed sense of gratitude and connectedness.

Post-it® Note Promises

Posted on September 21, 2016

Whenever I participate in some sort of large, group gathering for work, I always leave with “Post-it® Note promises,” whether literal or in the form of a mental note. These notes consist of follow-ups and reminders for myself stemming from conversations with members of the group.

As is true for many people, meetings with staff or community members always yield mental notes, which are usually fairly easy to address and check off the list. Multi-day events, though, like the opening of Birds in Art is another story.

Museum Elves Make Magic

Posted on December 09, 2015

Perhaps it’s the holiday season that has me thinking about elves. Although at the Woodson Art Museum, elves really are busy year round.

The elf vision that pops into my mind now – along with sugar plum fairies – is the magic-making variety. I’m specifically thinking this time of year about the Museum’s volunteer docents, who are responsible for magic-making experiences for visiting groups of all ages.

Ownership: Making the Woodson Your Art Museum

Posted on June 04, 2014

How can we nurture engagement and foster loyalty in our visitors? How can we engender in our volunteers a sense of pride in the Woodson Art Museum? These and other big-picture ideas and lofty aspirations take shape in various ways here – inclusive public programs accessible to all, enthusiastic and passionate staff, dynamic exhibitions, and pleasing public spaces, to name a few.

These are notions I consider when working with new volunteer greeters and docents and this spring has been filled with many volunteer training sessions. In addition to teaching incoming docents about Museum collections or art interpretation, it’s important to communicate our underlying identity: a thoughtful, progressive, and barrier-free institution that seeks to enhance lives through art for all visitors and the north central Wisconsin communities it serves.

Beyond the Recycled Runway

Posted on May 08, 2014

The Woodson Art Museum’s exhibition schedule is developed to provide visitors with rich visual arts experiences. As curator of exhibitions, I look for variety in building a diverse schedule to appeal to the broadest spectrum of visitors.

A couple of years ago, an exhibition of artist-designed clothes made of recycled materials caught my attention. Through research, I discovered a TED talk by the artist – and environmental advocate – Nancy Judd.  In it, Nancy wore a yellow dress that she’d made from strips of plastic caution tape. She explained how her fashionable clothing made from trash was the perfect way to encourage people to recycle. After seeing the talk, I knew it would be a special exhibition.