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Home > Research > Publications > Annual Reports > 1995-96 Annual Report

The Museum Volunteer Program


Catherine Dueñas and Terry Friedman

Nearly three decades ago, the Oriental Institute Volunteer Program was created. Since that time, the program has grown and flourished under the careful guidance of Carolyn Livingood, Jill Carlotta Maher, Peggy Grant, and Janet Helman. We have now reached a defining moment in our history. As we enter the fourth decade of service, we are in the process of inaugurating a whole new chapter in our development, "Volunteer Outreach."

Figure 1. Carole Yoshida, Deloris Sanders, and Anne Schumacher enjoy talking with students during an outreach visit to Streeter School.

During the past year we focused our attention on how the Volunteer Program could best serve the Oriental Institute during the period of closure. Our goals for this time are twofold. First, we want to help keep the museum alive and involved in the community. Secondly, along with showcasing the museum to our existing audiences, we see outreach programming as an opportunity to expand our services to new institutions. Pilot outreach programming began in mid-1995. By the end of June 1996, nearly 2,000 people had received outreach services, responding to these programs with great excitement and enthusiasm. None of this could have been effectively realized without the devoted commitment of the volunteers, many of whom have embraced this new challenge. The Outreach Volunteer Corps is growing in strength and vitality as we prepare to go full speed ahead for the fall of 1996.

Outreach Training and Preparation

Several Docent Day sessions were devoted to familiarizing the volunteers with the hands-on materials and slide presentations that were developed for use in the Outreach Program. Volunteers had opportunities to ask questions and experiment with the projectors and other audiovisual equipment that will become an integral part of the program's operation.

Figure 2. Docents Evelyn Ruskin-Gordon and Janet Helman "Have Taken the Show on the Road," doing presentations for schools and community groups.

Some of the adventurous volunteers who presented pilot outreach programs to schools and community groups were: Albert Haas, Janet Helman, Georgie Maynard, Dawn Prena, Larry Scheff, and Carole Yoshida. They shared with us their practical experience and advice by helping to shape the content, direction, and execution of the program. We thank them for their skillful assistance and guidance.

Several volunteers expressed interest in working "behind the scenes," cataloging slides as well as editing and revising many of the pre-scripted talks. Their efforts were crucial elements in the organization of the program. Our appreciation to the following volunteers for their dedicated work: Deborah Aliber, Joan Barghusen, Janet Calkins, Charlotte Collier, Hazel Cramer, Lilian Cropsey, Evelyn Ruskin Gordon, Mary Harter, Patricia Hume, George Junker, Nina Longley, Dawn Prena, Deloris Sanders, Daila Shefner, Helaine Staver, and Carole Yoshida.

Diversity Training

In order to better prepare volunteers for outreach and the diverse audiences they would serve, we sought the assistance of Kathy Stell, Dean of Students in the University of Chicago and Chair of the Coordinating Council for Minority Issues. She has been actively leading Diversity Training sessions for student groups and administrators campus-wide. With her guidance, we were able to develop a two-part Diversity Training Program titled, "Dealing with Diversity; Crossing the Boundaries of Religious, Cultural, Racial, and Ethnic Differences." The series was initiated in response to the many concerns volunteers had expressed when working with diverse groups who might have differing interpretations of the museum's collection and mission.

Figure 3. Thursday Docent Anita Greenberg graciously hosted the June picnic. Here enjoying the party and hostess are (from left) Daila Shefner with Anita Greenberg, Elizabeth Spiegel, Laurie Fish, and Sandy Jacobsohn.

Social worker Irma Patterson joined Kathy Stell to facilitate the first session, which focused on racial diversity. Volunteers had an opportunity to explore their own attitudes and thoughts about themselves as well as towards those whom they perceive as different. It was a learning experience that heightened our own sensitivities through an honest exchange of ideas and information.

The second session of the series focused on issues involving religious fundamentalism. Martin Marty, Fairfax M. Cone Distinguished Service Professor from the Divinity School, was the guest speaker. Professor Marty discussed religious fundamentalism, its definition, historical interpretations, and frame of reference. His presentation was a remarkable blend of intellect, humor, and insight into this provocative subject. We were honored to have Professor Marty share his wealth of knowledge with us. The volunteers can now better understand and appreciate differing religious viewpoints and how to respond to them when presenting the museum's collection.

We want to express our gratitude to facilitators Kathy Stell and Irma Patterson. Their knowledge, understanding, and sensitivity to the diversity issues helped formulate and develop two unique and enriching forums that gave volunteers an opportunity to explore some difficult issues as well as to learn and grow together.

Docent Days

Docent Days were intellectually stimulating and enthusiastically supported by the volunteers. Faculty, staff, and volunteers continued to provide excellent programs, highlighting areas of research, publication, and field projects, as well as personal and professional archaeological experiences. Our thanks and appreciation to the following individuals for their contributions to Docent Day programming: Lanny Bell, Robert Biggs, Erl Dordal, Peter Dorman, Evelyn Ruskin Gordon, Harry Hoffner, Janet Johnson, John Larson, Erica Reiner, Ingrid Rolland, Martha Roth, Larry Scheff, William Sumner, Emily Teeter, Edward Wente, and Donald Whitcomb.

Figure 4. At Christopher School Docent Mary Harter discusses replicas with the students.

Docent Day programs began this year by following the customary format, utilizing both Breasted Hall and the museum galleries for lectures and gallery workshops. As the construction schedule began to escalate in the spring, however, it became apparent that alternate locations for our monthly meetings would be needed. Our appreciation to the following volunteers for helping us make arrangements to have Docent Days go "off-site:" Charlotte Collier and Georgie Maynard for arranging the use of the Board Room in Vista Homes for the May Docent Day, and Anita Greenberg for inviting us to use her lovely rose garden for the annual June picnic.

Figure 5. Students ar Northshore Country Day School learn how to write their names in heiroglyphs with the help of Outreach Docent teresa Hintzke and Laura Sanchez.

Two field trips were incorporated into the Docent Day format this year. In July 1995, the volunteers enjoyed a summer outing in Oak Park, touring the Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio, the Forest and Kenilworth Avenue Districts, and the Unity Temple. It was a superb day, educationally enriching, and visually inspiring.

In April 1996, the volunteers viewed the Corporate Art Collection of the Santa Fe Railroad. This collection, which began in 1903, is widely recognized for its outstanding paintings of the American Southwest. The volunteers traveled by motor coach to the Santa Fe Railroad Corporate Offices in Schaumburg for this special event. Upon our arrival we were met by the curator, Paul Benisek, who escorted us to the corporate boardroom for an informative slide presentation to help acquaint us with the historical development and evolution of the Santa Fe art collection. We received complimentary refreshments and were encouraged to explore the corporate offices to view the art. By the end of the visit, we had a deeper understanding and appreciation of the diverse artistic expressions that are represented in this collection. A special note of thanks to Mary Jo and Raja Khuri for their generosity in underwriting the transportation costs of the program and for initiating the arrangements to make this wonderful Docent Day possible.

Figure 6. Mary Jo and Raja Khuri underwrote the docent field trip to the Santa Fe Railway Corporate Art Collection in Schaumberg. Mary Jo is shown here with Paul Benisek, Curator of the Santa Fe Collection.

Docent Days will continue to take place every month throughout the entire renovation period. Starting this fall, the South Lounge on the second floor of the Reynolds Club will be the location for our future Docent Day programs. It is through the generosity of the University of Chicago and William Michel, Director of the Reynolds Club, that we will have this wonderful new facility available to the volunteers while the museum is closed.

Volunteer Recognition and Holiday Luncheon

All of the Docent Days were well attended, but traditionally the December Docent Day, featuring Volunteer Recognition Awards and the Holiday Luncheon, always draws a large, enthusiastic audience. This year the morning program was presented by William Sumner, Oriental Institute Director, who gave a slide talk entitled "Living and Working at the Site of Anshan, Iran." He shared with us some of his personal and professional experiences while working as an archaeologist in Iran prior to the 1978 Revolution. Immediately following his talk, Bill assumed his Director's role to answer many of the questions the volunteers had concerning the building project and its projected timetable. Due to the uncertain schedule for the museum's renovation and climate control project, an official Volunteer Training Class was not offered this year. Several very devoted and motivated individuals, however, managed to complete a course of independent study, using the Docent Training Manual, along with extensive reading and practical on-the-job experience supervised by Docent Captains. We were very pleased with their progress and they are all working in different capacities throughout the museum. We welcome the following individuals to our ranks: Ruth Barnard, Wanda Bolton, Patty Dunkel, Patricia Hume, Pat McLaughlin, and Joyce Weil.

Ten volunteers received special recognition awards and complimentary membership for their years of loyal commitment to the Oriental Institute and the museum. We admire and respect all of their contributions, past, present, and future. Our congratulations to the following award recipients:

Five Years of Service

Nancy Baum, Judy Licata, and Jean Niblack

Ten Years of Service

Christel Betz

Fifteen Years of Service

Maria Ählstrom and Deborah Aliber

Twenty Years of Service

Teresa Hintzke, JoAnn Putz, and Barbara Watson

Thirty Years of Service

Betty Baum

In Memoriam

It is with great sorrow that we must inform you of the death of Joan G. Rosenberg. Joan passed away on June 13th at her home in Highland Park. For nearly twenty-five years she had faithfully volunteered her talents, skills, and support to the Oriental Institute and its museum. Her sphere of interests encompassed many areas of the Institute. She served on the Visiting Committee and its Legacy Campaign, was a Tuesday afternoon Museum Docent, and assisted both John Larson and Emily Teeter with numerous research projects. Joan received her B.A. from the University of Chicago and her M.A. from Northwestern School of Journalism. She was a member of the University of Chicago Women's Board and of Common Ground. All of her friends at the Oriental Institute will miss her greatly. We will treasure her years of devoted service to the Docent Program and her generosity to the Institute.

Sonnenschein Tea

In January, Mrs. Elizabeth Sonnenschein again graciously offered to receive the volunteers, faculty, and staff of the Oriental Institute in her home. We were honored to have the opportunity for a return visit to the President's residence. This year's event featured a Faculty Roundtable Discussion and Tea.

The guests speakers for this program were: Professors Lanny Bell, Harry Hoffner, Janet Johnson, Erica Reiner, and Edward Wente, who shared with us some memorable moments in their professional careers at the Oriental Institute. Everyone enjoyed the opportunity to hear these faculty members reminisce about their work with great insight, wit, and charm.

Docent Library

Faculty and volunteers have made many generous donations to the Docent Library. We appreciate these additions to the active, lending library in the Volunteer Office. Our vigilant librarian, Deborah Aliber, does a masterful job cataloging and maintaining our ever-expanding collection. Our thanks to her assistants, Patricia Hume and Sandra Jacobsohn, for their faithful help in organizing and maintaining this valuable resource.


Several volunteers used the closing of the galleries to explore other options for service by assisting the faculty and staff with research projects, proofreading, and cataloging and photographing materials. Everyone who wanted to find a new niche did so. Faculty and staff who have found the services of volunteers extremely useful are: Abbas Alizadeh, Jean Grant, Hans Güterbock, Harry Hoffner, John Larson, John Sanders, Emily Teeter, Raymond Tindel and Asl1han Yener.

Museum Tours and Outreach Visits

Museum Docents continued to invest their time, talents, and energies conducting guided tours for school groups and adults throughout the year. When the Egyptian Gallery closed, a new policy was instituted in order to better accommodate more museum visitors. A self-guided format was offered as an option for touring those galleries that remained open to the public. By the time the museum completely closed its doors to visitors, over 14,000 people had received a docent-led guided tour of the galleries and over 3,000 had taken advantage of the self-guided format.

Many Museum Docents have involved themselves in outreach programming. Since June 1995 nearly 1,500 school children and 500 adults have received outreach visits.

In Retrospect

It has been a very challenging and exciting time for the Volunteer Program. We have arrived at an important turning point in our development. Throughout the past three decades, the program has matured and grown in stature. What began thirty years ago as a response to the need to help visitors place the museum's exhibits in a broader historical and cultural context has expanded far beyond its original scope and definition.

Our thanks to all our friends and colleagues at the Oriental Institute. Much of the success of the Volunteer Program is due to the patient cooperation and support of the faculty and staff. Whether sharing a wealth of knowledge or supplying important resource material, their encouragement and accessibility are deeply appreciated.

Figure 7. Mrs. Elizabeth Sonnenschein (third from right) with faculty members (from left) Lanny Bell, Erica Reiner, Edward Wente, Janet Johnson, and Harry Hoffner during the January Docent Tea and Faculty Roundtable Discussion at the President's home.

We thank Carole Krucoff, (Head of Museum Education), Carol Redmond (Outreach Coordinator), Kaylin Goldstein (Programs Associate), and Yumi Roth (Programs Assistant) for their support and goodwill. In an atmosphere that is frequently pulsating with activity, they are the voice of calm reassurance and wise counsel. Their partnership and cooperation are invaluable.

We also want to give special thanks and recognition to the Chicago Community Trust for their generous grant in support of the Volunteer Program, which will now have the necessary funding to help produce and organize outreach services. The foresight and generosity of the Trust will enable us to enhance the cultural landscape of Chicago, helping history, art, and archaeology come alive for outreach audiences throughout the metropolitan area.

As we enter the fourth decade of service, we are encouraged and delighted by the many possibilities to explore and to expand new horizons. We celebrate this milestone event in our history with a sense of pride and accomplishment. We thank the many volunteers throughout the decades whose service has enriched so many areas of the Oriental Institute and its operation, and we are grateful to our past leaders whose vision and insight helped to lay a solid foundation on which a program could evolve and change. They were the inspired architects of the Volunteer Program. We are confident that as we commence our fourth decade, it will herald a time of renewed commitment and dedication.

The future is very promising. We are honored to be part of the historic evolution of the Volunteer Program as well as to turn the first page in this new chapter of its further development. We applaud all the volunteers who have given an extraordinary year of service to the Oriental Institute. Collectively and individually they are a treasured asset.

Advisors to the Volunteer Program

Jill Carlotta Maher, Peggy Grant, Janet Helman

Honorary Volunteer-At-Large

Elizabeth Sonnenschein

Museum Docent Captains

Deloris Sanders - Tuesday a.m.
Larry Scheff - Tuesday p.m.
Nina Longley and JoAnn Putz - Wednesday a.m.
Lilian Cropsey - Wednesday p.m.
Kitty Picken - Thursday a.m.
Elizabeth Spiegel - Thursday p.m.
Debbie Aliber - Friday a.m.
Georgie Maynard - Saturday a.m.
Melanie Petroskey and Carole Yoshida - Saturday p.m.
Teresa Hintzke and Steve Ritzel - Sunday

Regularly Scheduled Museum Docents

Nancy Baum, Mary Grimshaw, Robert Randolph
Bernadine Basile, Ira Hardman, Patrick Regnery
Jane Belcher, Mary Harter, Barbara Rollhaus
Christel Betz, Marsha Holden, Joan Rosenberg†
Dorothy Blindt, Patricia Hume, Alice Rubash
Wanda Bolton, Samantha Johnson, Norman Rubash
William Boone, George Junker, Janet Russell
Janet Calkins, Mary Jo Khuri, Laura Sanchez
Charlotte Collier, Barbara Klawans, Anne Schumacher
Hazel Cramer, Betsy Kremers, Lillian Schwartz
Erl Dordal, Judy Licata, Mary Shea
Catherine Dueñas, Johanna Lucas, Daila Shefner
Bettie Dwinell, Catherine Mardikes, Bernie Shelley
Anita Eller, Kay Matsumoto, Helaine Staver
Gordon Evison, Caryl Mikrut, Lester Stermer
Marilyn Fellows, Roy Miller, Bernadette Strnad
Esther Fifield, Kathy Mineck, Annette Teaney
Shirley Freundlich, Dorothy Mozinski, Richard Watson
Terry Friedman, Jean Niblack, Eve Weinberg
Joan Friedmann, Carolyn Payer, Pamela Wickliffe
John Gay, Rita Picken, DeWitt Williams
Evelyn Ruskin Gordon, Diane Posner
Anita Greenberg, Dawn Prena

Substitute Docents

Betty Baum, Barbara Frey, Muriel Nerad
Albert and Cissy Haas, Peggy Grant
Margaret Foorman, Alice Mulberry

Suq Docents

Barbara Baird, Ruth Hyman, Mary Schulman
Muriel Brauer, Lorraine Kubiak, Anne Schumacher
Charlotte Collier, Georgie Maynard, Jane Thain
Patty Dunkel, Agnethe Rattenborg, Norma van der Meulen
Barbara Frey, Rochelle Rossin, Barbara Watson

Substitute Suq Docents

Peggy Grant, Jane Hildebrand, Mardi Trossman
Janet Helman, Jo Jackson

Museum Archives Volunteers

Hazel Cramer, Sandra Jacobsohn, Helaine Staver
Peggy Grant, Irving Mann, Pamela Wickliffe
Patricia Hume, Mary Shea

Registrar's Office Volunteers

Joan Barghusen, Georgie Maynard, Kit Sumner
Peggy Grant, Roy Miller, Dick Watson
Janet Helman, Lillian Schwartz, Peggy Wick

Medinet Habu Project

Mary Harter

Göltepe/Kestel Project and Amuq Valley Project

Joan Friedmann, Albert Haas, Betsy Kremers, Daila Shefner

Photographic Laboratory Volunteers

Maria Ählstrom, Irene Glasner

Computer Laboratory Volunteers

Robert Randolph, Lester Stermer

Education Office Librarians

Deborah Aliber, Peggy Grant, Georgie Maynard
Lillian Cropsey, Patricia Hume, Kathy Mineck

Ceramic Restoration

Elizabeth Tieken

Assistants to Epigraphic Survey

Jill Carlotta Maher, Crennan Ray, Elinor Smith

Assistants to Prehistoric Project

Diana Grodzins, Andrée Wood

Suq Office and Stockroom Volunteers

Georgie Maynard, Eleanor Swift

Hittite Dictionary Project Volunteers

Irv Diamond, Kathy Mineck

Iranian Prehistoric Project Volunteers

Peggy Grant, Janet Helman

Volunteers Emeritus

Elizabeth Baum, Carol Green, Eleanor Swift
Mary D'Ouville, Sally Grunsfeld, Vida Wentz
Ida DePencier, Peggy Kovacs, Sally Zimmerman
Laurie Fish, Joan Rosenberg†

Museum Education and Family Programs Volunteers

Adrienne Runge

Museum Education Outreach

Deborah Aliber, Janet Helman, Diane Posner
Joan Barghusen, Teresa Hintzke, Dawn Prena
Dorothy Blindt, Patricia Hume, Patrick Regnery
Janet Calkins, Alice James, Laura Sanchez
Charlotte Collier, George Junker, Deloris Sanders
Lilian Cropsey, Nina Longley, Larry Scheff
Erl Dordal, Jo Lucas, Anne Schumacher
Shirley Freundlich, Kay Matsumoto, Daila Shefner
John Gay, Georgie Maynard, Helaine Staver
Evelyn Ruskin Gordon, Dorothy Mozinski, DeWitt Williams
Albert Haas, Denise Paul, Carole Yoshida
Mary Harter, Melanie Petrosky

Revised: July 30, 2007

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