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Home > Research > Publications > Annual Reports > 1997-98 Annual Report

The Museum Volunteer Program


Catherine Dueñas and Terry Friedman

This past year was one of great activity and accomplishment for the Volunteer Program. Over the past thirty-one years, the program has continued to adapt and change in order to accommodate a wide range of needs and interests for both student and community groups, religious institutions, and senior citizens. With the museum galleries still closed for renovation and climate control, the Volunteer Program has continued to devote much of its time and energies to serving an ever-expanding audience for outreach programs. The volunteers have continued to keep the museum vibrantly alive and in the public eye.


The 1997/98 academic year marks a new record for the number of participants served by the outreach program. This year's numbers represented nearly a ten percent increase over last year's statistics. The impressive growth and popularity of outreach is clearly demonstrated by the continued requests for more outreach visits.

This year nearly 3,300 students and adults learned about the wonders of the ancient Near East by having docents come out to offer outreach programs to their institutions. By visiting schools, libraries, clubs, hospitals, senior centers, and religious institutions, the docents were able to bring the outreach programs to a wide variety of age groups. Programming took place throughout Chicagoland, as well as in Indiana and Wisconsin. In-house programs were produced for visitors from Iowa and Michigan. Both in-house and outreach presentations have included such topics as "Ancient Egypt: Its History and Culture," "Ancient Mesopotamia: A Trip Back in Time," and "The Land of the Bible." Each program featured a discussion session and hands-on activities with reproduction artifacts. Our docents prepared innovative programs and creatively revitalized previously-used materials with enthusiasm and flair. With outreach visits already being scheduled for the upcoming academic year, we are eagerly preparing for another record-breaking year.

In July, the Oriental Institute Docents became involved in an entirely new outreach endeavor. We were invited to offer a week-long seminar series for Elderhostel at International House here on the University of Chicago campus. The volunteers were thrilled with the opportunity to develop special presentations for this very engaging adult audience. For five consecutive morning sessions, course participants explored the history and culture of ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia, and Israel. Two afternoon classes included a tour of the Smart Museum of Art, which featured a special exhibit from our own museum's collection: "In the Presence of the Gods: Art from Ancient Sumer" and a trip to the Field Museum to tour its Egyptian galleries. We would like to give a special note of recognition to the docents who participated in this week-long Elderhostel Program. Congratulations to: Bud Haas, Janet Helman, George Junker, Nina Longley, Kitty Picken, Rita Picken, Deloris Sanders, Daila Shefner, Jane Thain, and Carole Yoshida for their superb presentations. A special note of gratitude to both docent Kitty Picken and to Egyptologist Frank Yurco for their expert and knowledgeable tours of the Field Museum's mastaba exhibit. Everyone's enthusiasm and support helped to provide a whole new dimension to the Oriental Institute's outreach programming. We are pleased to announce that plans are currently underway to produce another week-long Elderhostel class in spring 1999.

Docent Days

Docent Day programs have continued throughout this past year, despite gallery closure and an unpredictable construction schedule. Each month the volunteers gathered in the South Lounge of the Reynolds Club to hear a variety of topics presented by faculty and staff. Our thanks to Bill Michel, Reynolds Club Student Activities Director, and Shawn Weaver, Reynolds Club Facilities Coordinator, for their valuable support and for providing Oriental Institute volunteers with a beautiful and convenient location for Docent Day programs. Through the hospitality of Docent Georgie Maynard, the volunteers were invited to a fascinating June Docent Day in the Board Room of Vista Homes and a picnic lunch in the adjacent garden. This year's guest speaker was W. Ray Johnson, the Director of Chicago House.

All Docent Day sessions have drawn a large, enthusiastic group of volunteers who enjoyed the opportunity to continue their education while fostering interest in new areas of study. Our programs this past year have highlighted academic research, publications, and field projects as well as personal insights and interpretations of recent discoveries in Near Eastern archaeology. We would like to express our appreciation to all of our Docent Day guest speakers: McGuire Gibson, Gene Gragg, Jan Johnson, W. Ray Johnson, Chuck Jones, Robert Ritner, Martha Roth, Emily Teeter, Tony Wilkinson, and Karen L. Wilson. We would like to thank both faculty and staff for making these monthly Docent Day programs a very special learning experience. Their presentations added so much to our continuing education and appreciation of ancient Near Eastern archaeology and history.

Smart Option

This past year, Oriental Institute volunteers were again offered an opportunity to provide docent-led tours at the David and Alfred Smart Museum of Art. This joint venture, which began in fall 1996, gave school children and adults an opportunity to have guided tours of the specially arranged exhibits from the Oriental Institute Museum collection that were on view at the Smart Museum. The first exhibit, "Faces of Ancient Egypt," was a wonderful glimpse into the world of the ancient Egyptians, their self image, and their quest for immortality. The second exhibit, "In the "Presence of the Gods: Art From Ancient Sumer," which opened in July 1997, introduced the public to the ancient Sumerians and their many artistic and technological achievements. This exhibit explored the evidence for the temple cult of the ancient Sumerians and highlighted forty-three of the most important and visually dynamic objects from the Oriental Institute collection. Docents received a special introductory lecture and tour from Karen L. Wilson, Oriental Institute Museum Director. This tour helped the volunteers to become familiar with the objects in their new surroundings. Two additional training sessions were given by Kathleen Gibbons, Smart Museum Education Director, and Jennifer Zitron, Education Programs Coordinator, to assist the docents with touring techniques as well as to help them make connections to the Smart collection. We were very pleased to participate in this joint venture and extend our congratulations and thanks to those docents whose enthusiastic support helped to ensure the success of this collaborative effort. Kudos go to co-captains Nina Longley and Rita Picken and to Docents Debbie Aliber, Pat Hume, Jo Lucas, Mary Shea, Anne Schumacher, Bernadette Strnad, and Carole Yoshida.

Volunteer Recognition and Holiday Luncheon

Each year faculty, staff, and volunteers are treated to a festive celebration for December Docent Day and the annual Docent/Volunteer Recognition ceremonies. This year Bruce Clinton, Chairman of the Clinton Company, permitted us to enjoy the lovely setting of the TOP Room at Regents Park for this program. We thank Mr. Clinton and his staff for their cooperation and hospitality with this special event.

We were honored to have the new Director of the Oriental Institute, Professor Gene Gragg, as our guest speaker. Professor Gragg spoke about his professional background, his career, and future plans for the Oriental Institute. We also would like to express our appreciation to Professor Gragg and to Cynthia Echols, Assistant Director for Development, who helped to make this annual event a very memorable occasion by underwriting the cost of the tantalizing buffet luncheon that was prepared by Sudki Abdullah of Cedars of Lebanon.

Our thanks go out to the many volunteers who shared their culinary skills by bringing delicious appetizers and glorious deserts and to Masako Matsumoto for making magnificent centerpieces for all of the tables.

This year twenty-one people received Volunteer Recognition Awards and were honored for their services to the Oriental Institute Docent/Volunteer Program In addition, each award recipient received a complimentary Oriental Institute membership or Suq gift certificate from the Membership Office. Congratulations to the following volunteers for their years of loyal service to the Institute and to the museum:

5 Year Honorees

Joan Friedmann, Betsy Kremers, Barbara Rollhaus and Anne Schumacher

10 Year Honorees

Shirley Freundlich, Barbara Klawans, Masako Matsumoto, Dawn Prena, Larry Scheff, Lillian Schwartz and Dick Watson

15 Year Honoree

Nina Longley

20 Year Honorees

Lilian Cropsey, Dianne Grodzins, Kitty Picken, Rita Picken and Mardi Trosman

25 Year Honorees

Elizabeth Spiegel, Peggy Wick and Janet Russell

35 Year Honoree

Mrs. Thedore D. Tieken

Field Trip - Summer in the City

In July, docents and volunteers gathered at the Museum of Contemporary Art to enjoy a day of intriguing contemporary art in an exciting new setting close to Chicago's Magnificent Mile and lakefront. Curatorial Assistant Jessica Morgan gave a comprehensive "Highlights from the Collection" tour featuring some of the museum's recent acquisitions. Following the morning program, we all enjoyed a delightful luncheon at the "M" Cafe, overlooking the lovely Sculpture Gardens. The weather was glorious, the art unique, the food delicious, and it was a great opportunity to experience the bustling ambiance of Chicago's newest museum on the cultural landscape.

Sonnenschein Tea

In January faculty, staff, and volunteers gathered at the President's House to enjoy a Tea Reception hosted by Elizabeth Sonnenschein. Emily Teeter, Oriental Institute Museum Associate Curator, gave us a comprehensive update on the progress of the Egyptian Gallery. Emily's talk introduced the volunteers to the thematic configuration of the new Egyptian Gallery, pointing out many of its user-friendly features as well as discussing some of the objects that will be on display for the first time in the new gallery.

As in past years, the volunteers shared a bounty of their culinary specialties to help make this year's tea a feast for the palette and the eyes. Masako Matsumoto made a beautiful centerpiece, which added even more elegance to the event.


We want to express appreciation to many of our volunteers and supporters for their generous financial donations and in-kind contributions to the Volunteer Program throughout the past year. Contributors have included: Barbara Storms Baird, Janet Calkins, Charlotte Collier, Erl Dordal, Mary Douville, Bettie Dwinell, Laurie Fish, Margaret Foorman, Leila Foster, Paul Freehling (in honor of Jo and Phil Jackson's 50th wedding anniversary), the Lloyd A. Fry Foundation, Peggy Grant, Janet and Bob Helman, Janet Kessler, Peggy Kovacs, Marcia Nachtrieb, Denise Paul, Rochelle Rossin, Deloris Sanders, Lillian Schwartz, Eleanor Swift, Marty Trosman, Eve and Norman Weinberg, and Sally Zimmerman.

We were fortunate to receive a generous donation to the outreach program from Docent Emeritus Betty Baum. Her gift provided the funds to purchase a new state-of-the-art Kodak carousel slide projector, telescopic lens, and reinforced carrying case. Other valuable educational resources have been contributed to the outreach program this past year by Docents Mary Harter, Denise Paul, and Deloris Sanders.

Docent Library

Under the guidance and supervision of our Docent Librarian, Debbie Aliber, the library grew and flourished this past year. Our collection has continued to expand, aided by the many generous donations and contributions from faculty, staff, and volunteers. Barbara Storms Baird and the Estate of Joan and Homer Rosenberg have made special donations to the collection and helped to support its future growth.

Our appreciation and congratulations to Debbie and her faithful assistants Hazel Cramer, Jo Jackson, Sandy Jacobsohn, Deloris Sanders, Daila Shefner, and Helaine Staver who arranged a wonderful May Docent Day Book Sale. Their hard work really paid off, producing over $500 in sales. With these funds, the library will be able to purchase new volumes and maintain an interesting cross-section of titles for the volunteers to borrow in the future.

We were delighted that the Docent Library this past year was able to make an important donation to the Research Archives of the Oriental Institute. Pinhas Delougaz's book, Pottery from the Diyala Region, is a very important resource for the teaching of Mesopotamian Archaeology. We are pleased that this rare volume will now be readily available in the Research Archives to help train future generations of archaeologists.

In Memoriam

We were saddened by the loss of several friends and devoted supporters of the Oriental Institute and the Volunteer Program. Linn Buss, Lewis Ginsberg, Pauline Pantsios, and Myrette Katz all passed away this year. We will miss the talents and skills that they shared with the Oriental Institute. We extend our condolences to their families.

Our First Intern

This past year the Volunteer Program was very fortunate to have its first college intern. Caitlin Dillon, a senior at Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, Michigan, came to Museum Education as a part of the internship program sponsored through the Chicago Metropolitan Center. From February until the beginning of May, she worked diligently to learn firsthand about the many facets of the Volunteer Program. Being an enthusiastic and highly motivated learner, Caitlin's creative and energetic nature enhanced the entire Volunteer Program as well as several other special projects she undertook throughout the Institute. As a result of some of her experiences with docents and faculty, Caitlin has chosen to go on to Cambridge University in England to do graduate work in linguistics. We wish her well.

In Retrospect

In June, Kaylin Goldstein, the Museum Education Programs Associate, decided to spread her wings and do graduate work and research in Israel. Kaylin has been patient and generous with all of the docents and volunteers over the past six years. She helped us over many a hurdle, and with many a computer problem. It was fitting that the docents and volunteers gathered for a farewell celebration in her honor at the May Docent Day. Faculty, staff, students, and volunteers all joined in to say good-bye and thank you to this lovely young lady, who leaves with all of our best wishes.

We would also like to thank our other colleagues in Museum Education: Carole Krucoff, Head of Education and Public Programs; Judy Chavin, our new Education Programs Associate; Emily Napolitano, the Education Programs Assistant; and Anna Rochester, Education Outreach Coordinator, for their abiding friendship and support throughout this past year. In a beehive of activity producing a wide variety of innovative programs and activities, they are always voices of calm reassurance and sage advice.

A heartfelt thank you to all the volunteers, our most treasured asset, who have given an extraordinary year of service to the Oriental Institute. Whether behind-the-scenes or in the public eye, your enthusiasm, many talents, and unfaltering support, continue to enrich so many vital areas of the Institute and the museum.

This has been a remarkably dynamic year, filled with tremendous vitality and promise. The Volunteer Program continues to meet the challenge of gallery closure with creativity and renewed determination to serve the museum and the public through ways never thought possible before. Outreach programming is a key element in our mission. The outreach program will remain an integral part of Volunteer Services, as we carefully begin to examine the needs and evaluate the future role of the docents and the volunteers in the twenty-first century.

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, Richard Harter, Kitty Picken

Bernadine Basile, Janet Helman, Rita Picken

Jane Belcher, Teresa Hintzke, Diane Posner

Rebecca Binkley, Patricia Hume, Dawn Prena

Dorothy Blindt, Alice James, Stephen Ritzel

Richard Blindt, George Junker, Adrienne Runge

Wanda Bolton, Jeanne Junker, Laura Sanchez

Janet Calkins, Mary Jo Khuri, Deloris Sanders

Hazel Cramer, Betsy Kremers, Larry Scheff

Lilian Cropsey, Nina Longley, Anne Schumacher

Caitlin Dillon, Jo Lucas, Daila Shefner

Erl Dordal, Kay Matsumoto, Bernie Shelly

Bettie Dwinell, Georgie Maynard, Helaine Staver

Margaret Foorman, Roy Miller, Bernadette Strnad

Evelyn Ruskin Gordon, Kathy Mineck, Maureen Toner

Bud Haas, Caryl Mikrut, Carole Yoshida

Cissy Haas, George Morgan

Ira Hardman, Pat McLaughlin

Smart Option Docents and Volunteers

Co-Captains: Nina Longley and Rita Picken

Debbie Aliber, George Junker, Bernadette Strnad

Rebecca Binkley, Jo Lucas, Carole Yoshida

Bettie Dwinell, Anne Schumacher

Pat Hume, Mary Shea

Museum Education and Family Programs Volunteers

Kathy, Kristen, and Carl Mineck, Danielle Sherrod and Jane Thain

Suq Docents

Barbara Storms Baird, Ruth Hyman, Rochelle Rossin

Muriel Brauer, Peggy Kovacs, Mary Schulman

Patty Dunkel, Georgie Maynard, Jane Thain

Barbara Frey, Agnethe Rattenborg, Norma van der Meulen

Substitute Suq Docents

Peggy Grant, Janet Helman, Jo Jackson

Suq Behind-the-Scenes Docent

Georgie Maynard, Eleanor Swift

Suq Jewelry Designer

Norma van der Meulen

Membership and Development Volunteers

Kay Matsumoto, Rita Picken

Museum Archives Volunteers

Hazel Cramer, Janet Zell Kessler, Pamela Wickliffe

Peggy Grant, Lillian Schwartz, Carole Yoshida

Patricia Hume, Mary Shea

Sandra Jacobsohn, Helaine Staver

Registrar's Office Volunteers

Debbie Aliber, Mary Grimshaw, Lillian Schwartz

Leila Foster, Janet Helman, Dick Watson

Peggy Grant, Georgie Maynard, Peggy Wick

Diyala Project Volunteers

Richard Harter, Joyce Weil, Carole Yoshida

Medinet Habu Project

Hazel Cramer, Peggy Grant, Mary Harter

Göltepe/Kestel Project and Amuq Valley Project

Joan Friedmann, Bud Haas, Betsy Kremers, Daila Shefner

Photography Laboratory Volunteers

Maria Ahlström, Hugh Christ, Dawn Prena

Debbie Aliber, Irene Glasner, Carole Yoshida

Computer Laboratory Volunteers

Robert Randolph, Les Stermer

Conservation Laboratory Volunteer

Vilma Basilissi

Education Office Library

Head Librarian-Debbie Aliber

Assistant Librarians

Lillian Cropsey, Jo Jackson, Kathy Mineck

Peggy Grant, Sandra Jacobsohn, Deloris Sanders

Patricia Hume, Georgie Maynard, Daila Shefner

Ceramic Restoration

Elizabeth Tieken

Assistants to Epigraphic Survey and Chicago House

Carlotta Maher, Crennan Ray, Elinor Smith

Assistants to Prehistoric Project

Diana Grodzins, Andree Wood

Hittite Dictionary Project Volunteers

Irv Diamond, Irene Glasner, Denise Paul

Caitlin Dillon, Kathy Mineck, Anne Schumacher

Readers for Hans Güterbock

George Junker, Anne Schumacher

Publications Office Volunteers

Ruth Caraher, Tom Dousa, Denise Paul

Irv Diamond, Irene Glassner, Kathy Mineck

Caitlin Dillon, Roy Miller

Iranian Prehistoric Project Volunteer

Janet Helman

Volunteers Emeritus

Elizabeth Baum, Laurie Fish, Eleanor Swift

Charlotte Collier, Carol Green, Vida Wentz

Mary D'Ouville, Sally Grunsfeld, Sally Zimmerman

Ida De Pencier, Dorothy Mozinski

Revised: February 7, 2007

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