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Home > Research > Publications > Annual Reports > 1996-97 Annual Report

The Museum Volunteer Program


Catherine Dueñas and Terry Friedman

This past year has been one of celebration and transition for the Oriental Institute's Volunteer Program. The 30th-anniversary year was a time to reflect upon the program's past achievements as well as to evaluate its goals for the next century. Faced with a two-year gallery closure during the period of renovation, the Volunteer Program focused its attention on successfully developing, marketing, and presenting outreach programs to schools and community groups throughout Chicago and the metropolitan area. The months of planning, training, and preparation helped to redefine the Volunteer Program's mission during the time of transition, while at the same time continuing to motivate participation and interest in this new and challenging endeavor called "Outreach." The strength and momentum generated from the volunteers' support was critical to the resounding success of the program. The efforts to inaugurate a whole new chapter in our development has proven to be a rewarding and inspiring experience for everyone. "The show has been taken on the road," and the Oriental Institute Docents and Volunteers are now center stage with outreach!


Because the diverse outreach programs have had great success and popularity, our volunteers have been invited to service locations throughout metropolitan Chicago and northwest Indiana. Our audience population profile base has expanded to encompass trans-generational as well as multi-cultural participants. The program's content and format has been engaging, imaginative, and flexible enough to accommodate a variety of interests and schedules. Through presentations of slide programs, viewing of museum replicas, and interactive hands-on activities, both school audiences and senior citizen centers have enjoyed enriching educational experiences.

Behind the scenes, the work continued with the organization of the program's hands-on materials, and the development and cataloging of the new slide talks. Volunteers took great pride in their achievements and were eager to share their experiences with other members of the Oriental Institute's membership family. Docent Carole Yoshida wrote a wonderful article about the Outreach Program for News & Notes (Winter 1997). Her enthusiasm from the perspective of a very active and encouraging Outreach participant got more people interested in the program. Our thanks to the many volunteers whose combined efforts helped to mobilize, energize, and increase Volunteer Outreach participation.

Smart Option

In the fall of 1996, Oriental Institute Docents were offered a unique opportunity to provide tours at the David and Alfred Smart Museum of Art. While the Oriental Institute Museum is undergoing renovation, exhibits have been planned for one of the galleries at the Smart Museum. The first exhibit, named Faces of Ancient Egypt, opened at the Smart on 10 September 1996. Our docents were asked to give tours to students from public schools through both the Faces of Ancient Egypt exhibit as well as related sections of the Smart Museum of Art collection associated with a project funded by the Polk Bros. Foundation . For this joint venture, the docents received special training with Egyptologist Emily Teeter and the Smart Museum staff. The September 1996 Docent Day Program consisted of a lecture and a tour of the exhibit with Emily Teeter. This was followed by a series of three training sessions led by Kathleen Gibbons and Richard Born, respectively the Smart Museum's Education Director and Curator. The docents participating in this project were given gallery outlines and sample tours to familiarize them with the Oriental Institute's artifacts on view at the Smart Museum. Additional training sessions to assist docents in understanding and interpreting the Smart Museum collection were also conducted by Amy Neihengen, the Smart Museum's Programs Coordinator. After a very successful inaugural collaborative effort between the Institute and the Smart Museum, Faces of Ancient Egypt closed on 9 March 1997. We would like to thank Richard Born, Kathleen Gibbons, Amy Neihengen, and Emily Teeter for making this joint venture a great success and for helping the Oriental Institute docents discover so many new aspects of art. Our thanks and kudos to Mary Shea, the Docent Captain for the Smart Option, and to Docents Rebecca Binkley, Bettie Dwinell, Pat Hume, George Junker, Nina Longley, Jo Lucas, Rita Picken, Bernadette Strnad, Anne Schumacher, and Carole Yoshida for their assistance and participation in the Smart Option.

Docent Days

Docent Day programming continued throughout this past year, despite gallery closure and the uncertain construction schedule of the building project. Volunteers gathered each month in the newly renovated South Lounge of the Reynolds Club to hear faculty and staff speak about a variety of fascinating topics. Everyone enjoyed the warm, inviting atmosphere of the student lounge and appreciated the opportunity to continue this monthly in-service educational tradition. Our thanks to Bill Michel, Reynolds Club and Student Activities Director, and Shawn Weaver, Reynolds Club Facilities Coordinator, for their generous assistance in providing Oriental Institute Volunteers with this wonderful alternate location for Docent Day Programs during the Museum's renovation. These Docent Day sessions in the Reynolds Club South Lounge were enthusiastically supported and well attended by the docents and volunteers. We would like to express our appreciation to all of our guest speakers at the Reynolds Club: Peter Piccione, Clemens Reichel, David Schloen, Emily Teeter, Karen Wilson, and Asl1han Yener. All were very gracious with their time, providing outstanding substantive programs highlighting areas of research, publication, and field projects.

The July 1996 Docent Day consisted of a field trip to the Mexican Fine Arts Center Museum, where Oriental Institute Docent and Volunteer Carole Yoshida presented an extremely interesting program on "Pyramids and Ziggurats." Carole skillfully contrasted these monumental architectural treasures of Egypt, Mesopotamia, and Mesoamerica for the docents and the staff of the Mexican Fine Arts Museum. Immediately following Carole's presentation, the volunteers were treated to a private tour of the Maria Izquierdo Exhibit, which showcased over seventy works of art by this internationally acclaimed Mexican artist.

In February 1997, the volunteers returned to Breasted Hall for a special Docent Day with John Sanders, Head of the Oriental Institute Computer Laboratory. John spoke to us about "Computers, Networks, and the Virtual Museum," using the newly-installed audiovisual equipment, which the University of Chicago Women's Board has funded. John's presentation was a technological masterpiece. He "surfed" through some of the wonders of the Internet and the World-Wide Web, explaining many of the options and complexities of this system. Our thanks to John for bringing us into the twenty-first century and beyond!

As an added treat, following John's talk, volunteers enjoyed a behind-the-scenes hard-hat tour of the building project with Karen L. Wilson, Oriental Institute Museum Director, and Ray Tindel, Registrar. They escorted the volunteers through the construction zone to get a firsthand look at the work in progress. It was a rare opportunity to see the collective efforts of the Museum staff and construction crew working together to make this immense project a successful undertaking.

For the June 1997 Docent Day, we would like to express our appreciation to Anita Greenberg for inviting volunteers to her lovely home for the Annual Picnic. Everyone enjoyed the opportunity to hear Oriental Institute Archivist John Larson talk about the development of the archives and the acquisition of Professor Helene Kantor's papers. Since we had beautiful weather, we were able to have lunch outside in Anita's gorgeous garden.

Volunteer Recognition and 30th Anniversary Celebration

On 2 December, volunteers were joined by faculty and staff to help celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Volunteer Program. The combination program of December Docent Day, volunteer recognition, and 30th-anniversary celebration made this day a very memorable occasion. The program began with William Sumner, Director of the Oriental Institute, reminiscing about his background, his accomplishments during his tenure in office, and his plans for his upcoming retirement. This was a unique opportunity to hear the Director give a retrospective of his life with a great deal of wit and humor.

The morning's activities continued with a tribute to the Volunteer Program and its 30th anniversary. We were very pleased to have Carlotta Maher, Peggy Grant, and Janet Helman, all former Volunteer Coordinators, expound on the history and development of the program, honoring its founders and the many people who have helped with its growth throughout the past three decades. Although a formal Docent Training Class was not offered this year, three eager individuals joined the ranks of the Volunteers. We welcome Hugh Christ, Joan Kleinbard and Dr. George Morgan.

The Annual Volunteer Recognition Awards brought the program to an inspirational close. Congratulations and bravo to this year's fifteen award recipients, who were also given a complimentary Oriental Institute membership from the Membership Office.

5 Years

George Junker, Carolyn Payer and Laura Sanchez

10 Years

Irv Diamond and Margaret Foorman

15 Years

Stephen Ritzel

20 Years

Mary Jo Khuri, Georgie Maynard, Rochelle Rossin and Mary Schulman

25 Years

Peggy Grant

30 Years

Ida De Pencier, Bud and Cissy Haas and Carlotta Maher

For all of us, the incredible motivation and skills of these thirty-year veteran docents make them our role models. In June 1996, one of these docent veterans, Ida De Pencier, was honored by the University of Chicago with an Outstanding Alumni Award. Congratulations Ida!

Furthermore, we would like to thank the Director and the Membership and Development Office for generously underwriting the cost of this year's 30th-anniversary volunteer award recognition luncheon at the Quadrangle Club. This was indeed a very special way for the Institute to recognize the dedication and loyal support of the volunteer corps and to thank them for their contributions, hard work, and commitment to the University of Chicago and the Oriental Institute for the past three decades. We are especially grateful to Director William Sumner, Assistant Director Cynthia Echols, and Membership Coordinator Tim Cashion for their involvement in this festive holiday celebration for the docents, faculty, staff, and volunteers.

Sonnenschein Tea

In January 1997, volunteers enjoyed a return visit to the home of President and Mrs. Sonnenschein for a lovely tea reception followed by an informative slide presentation by Karen L. Wilson, Oriental Institute Museum Director. Karen's slide talk took us behind-the-scenes of the renovation for an in-depth view of the progress over the past year. The extraordinary efforts of the entire Museum staff, inspired by Karen's leadership and organization, made all of us appreciate the scope of this monumental undertaking.

Docent Library

Our thanks to Debbie Aliber and her loyal staff of volunteers for their ongoing care and maintenance of the Docent Library. This valuable resource continues to grow and flourish due to the many generous donations from volunteers and faculty members, who continually contribute new additions to the collection.


This past year the Outreach and Volunteer Programming would not have been possible without the generous support of the following foundations: The Chicago Community Trust, The Frye Foundation (in honor of Janet W. Helman), and The Polk Bros. Foundation. Individual donations from volunteers Betty Baum, Betty Dwinell, Peggy Kovacs, Denise Paul, Rochelle Rossin, Anne Schumacher, Elizabeth Spiegel, Carole Yoshida, and Sally Zimmerman are greatly appreciated.

Editing Assistance and Proofreading

This past year Perspectives on Hittite Civilization: Selected Writings of Hans Güterbock was published by the Oriental Institute. Several volunteers contributed valuable assistance with the production of this benchmark publication. We applaud the devoted work of Assistant Editor Irving Diamond and proofreaders Ruth Barnard, Irene Glasner, Kathleen Mineck, Denise Paul, and Anne Schumacher.

In Memoriam

It is with great sorrow that the program announces the loss of three devoted and loyal Oriental Institute volunteers. Ruth Barnard, Joseph Devoe, and Inger Kirsten all passed away this year. Each contributed their time and talents to help enrich different aspects of the Museum and the Institute. They will be missed and we are grateful for their valuable contributions to the Volunteer Program and to the Oriental Institute.

In Retrospect

The Volunteer Program has truly come of age. What began three decades ago as a response to the need to help visitors appreciate the Oriental Institute Museum's collection in a broader historical and cultural context has grown and matured well beyond its original scope and definition. The acceptance and popularity of the outreach program most clearly demonstrates the strength, the vitality, and the cooperation within the volunteer corps, while showing at the same time their eagerness to explore new directions. The dynamic energy and support from these volunteers has led the way for this new venture. Nearly 3,000 people have enjoyed an outreach visit this past year. The program's content and format has been engaging, imaginative, and flexible enough to accommodate a wide variety of interests. From the wide-eyed wonder of a first-grade child to the wise inquisitiveness of a senior citizen, the outreach program has touched many lives.

We are so grateful and appreciative to the faculty and staff of the Oriental Institute, our teachers and mentors, who throughout the years have been so gracious with their time and support.They have shared their knowledge, expertise, and resources to help us understand and interpret ancient Near Eastern history and civilization. Their support has helped create, motivate, and sustain the high level of volunteer involvement in the Museum as well as in the many vital areas of the Institute's research projects throughout the decades.

Our thanks and gratitude to all of our colleagues who share room 202 with us: Carole Krucoff, Head of Education and Public Programs; Kaylin Goldstein, Education Programs Associate; Emily Napolitano, Education Programs Assistant; Anna Rochester and Carol Redmond, Education Outreach Coordinators. Their support has been an ongoing source of abiding reassurance and wise counsel.

We applaud all of the docents and the volunteers who have given an extraordinary year of service to the Oriental Institute. They have met the challenge of gallery closure with great spirit and enormous creativity, enabling the Museum to expand its educational services in ways never imagined before. Collectively and individually the Oriental Institute's docents and volunteers are a treasured and irreplaceable asset.

Advisors to the Volunteer Program

Carlotta Maher, Peggy Grant, Janet Helman

Honorary Volunteer-At-Large

Elizabeth Sonnenschein

Museum Education Outreach Docents and Volunteers

Debbie Aliber, Mary Harter, Denise Paul
Joan Barghusen, Janet Helman, Kitty Picken
Bernadine Basile, Teresa Hintzke, Rita Picken
Jane Belcher, Patricia Hume, Diane Posner
Rebecca Binkley, Alice James, Dawn Prena
Dorothy Blindt, George Junker, Adrienne Runge
Wanda Bolton, Betsy Kremers, Laura Sanchez
Janet Calkins, Mary Jo Khuri, Deloris Sanders
Hazel Cramer, Nina Longley, Larry Scheff
Lilian Cropsey, Jo Lucas, Anne Schumacher
Erl Dordal, Kay Matsumoto, Dalia Shefner
Bettie Dwinell, Georgie Maynard, Bernie Shelley
Shirley Freundlich, Roy Miller, Helaine Staver
Evelyn Ruskin Gordon, George Morgan, Bernadette Strnad
Bud Haas, Pat McLaughlin, Carole Yoshida
Ira Hardman, Dorothy Mozinski

Smart Option Docents and Volunteers

Mary Shea, Captain Jo Lucas
Rebecca Binkley, Rita Picken
Bettie Dwinell, Bernadette Strnad
Pat Hume, Anne Schumacher
George Junker, Carole Yoshida
Nina Longley

Museum Education and Family Programs Volunteers

Mary Jo Khuri, Adrienne Runge

Suq Docents

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

Substitute Suq Docents

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

Suq Behind-the-Scenes Docent

Georgie Maynard

Suq Jewelry Designer

Norma van der Meulen

Suq Office and Stock Room Volunteers

Georgie Maynard, Eleanor Swift

Membership and Development Volunteers

Wanda Bolton, Mary Jo Khuri

Museum Archives Volunteers

Hazel Cramer, Lillian Schwartz
Peggy Grant, Mary Shea
Patricia Hume, Helaine Staver
Sandra Jacobsohn, Pamela Wickliffe
Janet Kessler, Carole Yoshida
Joan Kleinbard

Registrar's Office Volunteers

Debbie Aliber, Peggy Grant, Patrick Regnery
Joan Barghusen, Mary Grimshaw, Lillian Schwartz
Gretel Braidwood, Janet Helman, Kit Sumner
Leila Foster, Georgie Maynard, Dick Watson
John Gay, Roy Miller, Peggy Wick

Diyala Project Volunteers

Joyce Weil, Carole Yoshida

Medinet Habu Project Volunteers

Hazel Cramer, Peggy Grant, Mary Harter

Göltepe/Kestel Project and Amuq Valley Regional Project Volunteers

Joan Friedmann, Bud Haas, Betsy Kremers, Daila Shefner

Photographic Laboratory Volunteers

Maria Ahlström, Hugh Christ, Irene Glasner, Dawn Prena

Computer Laboratory Volunteers

Robert Randolph, Les Stermer

Conservation Laboratory Volunteers

Vilma Basilissi

Education Office Librarian

Debbie Aliber

Assistant Librarians

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

Ceramic Restoration Volunteer

Mrs. Thedore D. Tieken

Epigraphic Survey and Chicago House Volunteers

Carlotta Maher, Crennan Ray, Elinor Smith

Prehistoric Project Volunteers

Diana Grodzins, Andrée Wood

Hittite Dictionary Project Volunteers

Ruth Barnard, Kathy Mineck
Irv Diamond, Denise Paul
Irene Glasner, Anne Schumacher

Iranian Prehistoric Project Volunteers

Peggy Grant, Janet Helman

Volunteers Emeritus

Elizabeth Baum, Sally Grunsfeld
Mary D'Ouville, Eleanor Swift
Ida De Pencier, Vida Wentz
Laurie Fish, Sally Zimmerman
Carol Green

Revised: July 30, 2007

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