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Home > Research > Publications > Annual Reports > 1999-2000 Annual Report

The Museum Volunteer Program


Catherine Dueñas and Terry Friedman

It was the best of times and the most challenging of years for the Volunteer Program. With the opening of the Joseph and Mary Grimshaw Egyptian Gallery in May 1999, the activity level in the Volunteer Office began to accelerate as we increased our efforts to accommodate the numerous requests for docent-led tours for school groups and adult audiences. The months of planning, training, and preparation helped us to focus on the program's resources and mission, while at the same time continue to motivate participation, sustain interest, and generate enthusiasm within the volunteer corps for both museum and outreach programs.


The official start of scheduled docent-led tours of the Egyptian Gallery was 27 September 1999. Throughout the preceding summer months, docents familiarized themselves with the new gallery space. They utilized the time to learn more about the objects as well as to practice interactive touring techniques. Museum Docents were delighted to be back at work in the beautiful Joseph and Mary Grimshaw Egyptian Gallery. Along with the return of tours in the museum, we reinstituted the Docent Captain System for organizing morning and afternoon shifts. We would like to thank all of our museum Docent Captains for making the Museum Tours Program run so efficiently and successfully. We are grateful to Debbie Aliber, Erl Dordal, Ira Hardman, Mary Harter, Teresa Hintzke, George Junker, Nina Longley, Masako Matsumoto, Georgie Maynard, Roy Miller, Stephen Ritzel, Lucie Sandel, Deloris Sanders, Larry Scheff, Anne Schumacher, and Carole Yoshida. We could never have had such a successful year without their support.

With the increased activity within the volunteer corps, we again began to track the number of volunteer service hours per week. Volunteers now sign a time log each time they perform a volunteer function. This daily record helps to tabulate important statistical information for writing grant proposals to support the museum as well as the Museum Education and Volunteer Programs.


The Outreach Program continued to receive accolades and praise from students, educators, parents, and adults throughout metropolitan Chicago. The program has steadily grown in popularity over the past four years. Our audience base remains diverse and represents groups of all ages and cultural backgrounds. Even with the reopening of the Egyptian Gallery, many schools and community groups continue to request an outreach visit to further enhance their museum experience. The teachers feel that the slide presentation accompanied by the hands-on activities increases the students' background knowledge and thus prepares them better for the museum visit.

The Outreach Program achieved a major milestone this year. On 7 May 2000 at Abbott Middle School in Waukegan, Illinois, over 700 students were served in a single day as part of a school-wide multi-ethnic festival.

We have received many generous donations to the Outreach Program during this past year. From colorful costumes to creative hands-on activities and videos, volunteers continue to invest their time and talents helping to bring to life the "wonders of the ancient near east" through in-school docent-led learning experiences.

We would like to recognize the efforts of Denise Paul and Anne Schumacher, who compiled and cataloged written descriptions of the Egyptian materials contained in the outreach bins. Thank you for producing a valuable educational resource for the Outreach Program.


Throughout this past year, volunteers gave most generously with their financial support, contributions, and commitment to the program's success. Our thanks and appreciation to Masako Matsumoto whose gift will help us purchase handsome new name tags for the volunteers.

We would like to voice a special note of thanks to Betty Baum for helping the Volunteer Program update its office equipment. Her gift provided the funds to purchase a new state-of-the-art iMac computer for the Volunteer Program and a laser printer for Museum Education.

We would also like to take this opportunity to acknowledge, and express our gratitude for, the many generous memorial donations that were contributed to the Oriental Institute in memory of George Junker.

Volunteer Recruitment and Training

Although a formal volunteer training class was not offered this year, several enthusiastic and highly motivated individuals were recruited. Through independent study and group mentoring, they were able to join the program. We applaud their determination and hard work. Welcome aboard to Joe Diamond, Tom Duda, Louis Gudger, Nancy Huth, Sriram Kanteti, Nicholas Lezak, Sherif Marcus, Ila Patlogen, and Roxanne Volkmann.

Our appreciation and thanks to Mari Terman, who completely revised, streamlined, and updated the volunteer application form. Thanks to her efforts, we now have a concise and beautifully formatted new application.

Volunteer Recognition Awards and Annual Holiday Luncheon

Each year faculty, staff, and volunteers gather to enjoy a festive holiday celebration for December Docent Day. The popular program includes a guest speaker, a volunteer recognition ceremony, and a lovely holiday luncheon. This year's special event took place on Monday 6 December.

The morning program featured John Larson, Museum Archivist, whose lecture was "Collecting with James Henry Breasted in Egypt." His talk was a fascinating account of Breasted's life and times as an Egyptologist, collector, and visionary.

The morning's activities continued with Volunteer Recognition Awards Congratulations and bravo to this year's twenty-two award recipients!

5 Year Honorees

Barbara Storms Baird, Catherine Mardikes

Wanda Bolton, Robert Randolph

Janet Calkins, Helaine Staver

Hazel Cramer, Les Stermer

Mary Harter, Pamela Wickliffe

10 Year Honorees

Ruth Hyman, Agnethe Rattenborg

Sandra Jacobsohn, Patrick Regnery

Caryl Mikrut, Bernard Shelley

15 Year Honorees

Rebecca Binkley, Gordon Evison

Catherine Dueñas, Alice James

20 Year Honoree

Mary Shea

25 Year Honoree

Terry Friedman

30 Year Honorees

Muriel Nerad, Eleanor Swift

Following the conclusion of the morning program, volunteers were joined by the faculty and staff of the Oriental Institute to enjoy a lovely luncheon at the Quadrangle Club. Our thanks and appreciation to Gene Gragg, Director of the Oriental Institute, for graciously underwriting this festive occasion and to Tim Cashion, Director of Development, for providing complimentary memberships to all the Volunteer Recognition Award recipients. We would also like to give a special note of thanks to Jean Grant for taking some wonderful photographs of the day's events.

Docent Days Become Volunteer Days; Docent Digest Becomes Volunteer Voice

Docent Day lectures and discussion sessions continue to attract a large and enthusiastic audience of volunteers. These monthly seminars provide a unique opportunity for volunteers to continue their education in a structured, interactive learning environment. These sessions have been an integral part of the Volunteer Program from the very beginning. As we turned the corner of the twenty-first century, a subtle yet important change took place to make these classes more inviting and inclusive for the entire volunteer corps. The name was changed from "Docent Day" to "Volunteer Day." Along with this change, we changed the "Docent Digest" to the "Volunteer Voice." These small changes have been well received by everyone as we reach out to include all docents and volunteers who continue to learn and work in various areas of the Institute and the Museum.

This year's Volunteer Day program topics covered a broad spectrum of fascinating subject matter. Our thanks to Aaron Burke, Peter Dorman, Norman Golb, John Larson, Carol Meyer, Robert Ritner, Martha Roth, Emily Teeter, Joan Westenholtz, and Volunteer Sheldon Newman for their informative lectures, training sessions, and continued support of the Volunteer Program.

In addition to general areas of interest, three special training sessions were offered to acquaint docents and volunteers with the historical background and cultural uniqueness of ancient Persia. These sessions helped to prepare volunteers for the reopening of the Persian Gallery. Our appreciation to Abbas Alizadeh, Mary Shea, Matthew Stolper, Donald Whitcomb, and Karen Wilson for providing these special classes.

Sonnenschein Tea

On 10 January faculty, staff, and volunteers gathered for a lovely midwinter tea reception and "fireside chat" at the home of President and Mrs. Sonnenschein. Our guest speaker was Martha Roth, who spoke about the Chicago Assyrian Dictionary and the many complicated issues involving the production of a dictionary. Her talk broadened our understanding and appreciation for this enormous collaborative research effort taking place on the third floor of the Oriental Institute.

A special note of appreciation to Elizabeth Sonnenschein for hosting this special program for the past six years. Her hospitality, friendship, and interest in the Oriental Institute have meant so much to all of us. Beth, thank you for adding so much grace and dignity to the entire university community.

Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum and The Field Museum

On 8 November docents, volunteers, and museum staff members enjoyed a field trip to the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum at the Chicago Academy of Sciences. The museum, at its dramatic new lakefront location, provided a magnificent backdrop to view and experience nature from both inside and out. Volunteer Services Coordinator Steve Bunyiak greeted everyone and gave an informative overview of the museum exhibits. He also highlighted the building's architectural details and the many ecosystems surrounding this impressive structure. The warm weather was delightful, and all who attended appreciated the opportunity to explore the academy's state-of-the-art science and education center as well as lunch at the Butterfly Cafe.

On 13 March volunteers enjoyed an extraordinary Volunteer Day on location at The Field Museum. The morning program featured Professor Norman Golb who lectured on "The Dead Sea Scrolls: Their Jerusalem Origins and Their Public Importance." His talk was very insightful and helped everyone examine both the information as well as the historical scholarship surrounding these important manuscripts. Immediately following the lecture, the volunteers had the opportunity to view firsthand this thought-provoking exhibit. We would like to express our appreciation to Mary Ann Bloom, Bob Cantu, and the staff of The Field Museum for their assistance with this important collaborative program. It was a memorable field trip for everyone.


We were delighted this year to have the opportunity to work with three energetic and motivated interns, Emily Schuttenberg from the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools and David Jakubowski and Michael Tafel from the University of Illinois at Chicago. From administrative tasks to Outreach Programs, these energetic and creative interns contributed a great deal to the Volunteer Program.

In Memoriam

This past year the Oriental Institute lost two devoted and loyal volunteers, George Junker and Peggy Kovacs. Their gifts of time, support, talents, and skills helped to enrich the Volunteer program, the Museum, and the Institute. They will be missed, and we will treasure their valuable contributions and years of service.

Docent Library

Under the careful guidance and supervision of Debbie Aliber, our Docent Librarian, the library flourished this past year. Our collection has continued to expand, aided by the many generous donations and contributions of faculty, staff, and volunteers. This year the library was reorganized by geographic area (Egypt, Iran, Israel, Mesopotamia, etc.). The books are now alphabetized by author within each area. This modification has made the library more user-friendly and facilitates the search for a subject of particular interest.

In Retrospect and Reflection

Throughout its thirty-four year history, the Volunteer Program has adapted well to changing times, while still maintaining the highest standards for its volunteers. We gratefully acknowledge the friendship and support of the faculty and staff of the Oriental Institute for making this possible. Throughout the years, they have been our teachers and mentors, continually sharing their wealth of knowledge, sparking our curiosity, and supplying countless resources for our continuing education. Their accessibility and involvement motivate and inspire the high level of docent and volunteer commitment throughout many vital areas of the Oriental Institute and the museum.

We would like to thank our colleagues in Museum Education - Judy Chavin, Education Programs Associate; Megan Kossiakoff, Education Programs Assistant; Carole Krucoff, Head of Education and Public Programs; Anna Rochester, School and Family Programs Coordinator; and Michelle Schwegmann, Education Programs Assistant, for their faithful support throughout this past year. In a whirlwind of activity, they are the voice of reason and reassurance.

The new century provided a moment in time to reflect upon the Volunteer Program's past accomplishments while at the same time realistically set our vision for the program's future goals and direction in the twenty-first century. Preliminary plans are under way for a new program, Docent-on-Line, an interactive learning exchange through Internet access, which will link educators and students directly to a docent who will be able to answer their questions with the mere click of a computer mouse. Whether through in-house tours, outreach visits, or cyberspace access, the Oriental Institute Volunteer Program can now share its rich experience and knowledge with an expanded public audience.

The hard work and dedication of the volunteers continue to demonstrate how they are active contributing partners and valued human resources within the Institute's ongoing operation. Collectively and individually they are a rare and treasured asset.

Advisors to the Volunteer Program

Carlotta Maher, Peggy Grant, Janet Helman

Computer Laboratory

Irv Diamond, Nancy Gould, Richard Harter

Irene Glasner, Peggy Grant, Karen Terras

Conservation Laboratory

Vilma Basilissi


Teri Gillespie, William Gillespie

Diyala Project

Jennifer Benedict, Betsy Kremers, Joyce Weil

Richard Harter, Helaine Staver, Carole Yoshida

Docent Library

Head Librarian - Debbie Aliber

Assistant Librarians

Peggy Grant, Sandra Jacobsohn, Deloris Sanders

Debby Halpern, Georgie Maynard, Daila Shefner

Patricia Hume, Kathleen Mineck

Epigraphic Survey and Chicago House

Carlotta Mahe,r Crennan Ray, Elinor Smith

Göltepe/Kestel Project and Amuq Valley Regional Project

Joan Friedmann, Bud Haas, Betsy Kremers, Daila Shefner

Hittite Dictionary Project

Irv Diamond, Kathleen Mineck, Anne Schumacher

Irene Glasner, Denise Paul

Honorary Volunteer-At-Large

Elizabeth Sonnenschein

Iranian Prehistoric Project

Janet Helman


Debbie Aliber, Mary Harter, Kitty Picken

Jane Belcher, Janet Helman, Rita Picken

Rebecca Binkley, Lee Herbst, Patrick Regnery*

Dorothy Blindt, Teresa Hintzke, Stephen Ritzel

Wanda Bolton, Patricia Hume, Adrienne Runge

Myllicent Buchanan, Nancy Huth, Evelyn Ruskin

Janet Calkins, Alice James, Laura Sanchez

David Covil,* George Junker, Deloris Sanders

Hazel Cramer, Henriette Klawans, Larry Scheff

Joe Diamond, Nina Longley, Anne Schumacher

Erl Dordal, Jo Lucas, Daila Shefner

Tom Duda, Sherif Marcus, Helaine Staver

Margaret Foorman, Kay Matsumoto, Bernadette Strnad

Nancy Gould,* Georgie Maynard, Mari Terman

Bud Haas, Roy Miller, Karen Terras

Cissy Haas, Kathleen Mineck, Roxanne Volkmann

Debby Halpern, George Morgan, Carole Yoshida

Ira Hardman, Denise Paul

*Please note that these names were inadvertently omitted from the 1998/99 Annual Report.

Museum Archives

Alison Carter, Sandra Jacobsohn, Helaine Staver

Hazel Cramer, Stephanie Reed, Carole Yoshida

Peggy Grant, Lillian Schwartz

Patricia Hume, Mary Shea

Museum Education and Family Programs

Debbie Aliber, George Junker, Stephen Ritzel

Rebecca Binkley, Nina Longley, Deloris Sanders

Kristina Cooper, Kathleen Mineck, Karen Terras

Erl Dordal, Ila Patlogen, Carole Yoshida

Debby Halpern


Bernadine Basile, Janet Helman, George Morgan

Rebecca Binkley, Lee Herbst, Denise Paul

Richard Blindt, Jeanne Junker, JoAnn Putz

Myllicent Buchanan, MaryJo Khuri, Dawn Prena

Janet Calkins, Henriette Klawans, Stephen Ritzel

Hazel Cramer, Betsy Kremers, Evelyn Ruskin

Erl Dordal, Nina Longley, Deloris Sanders

Bettie Dwinell, Masako Matsumoto, Larry Scheff

Bud Haas, Georgie Maynard, Anne Schumacher

Cissy Haas, Robert McGuiness, Emily Schuttenberg

Debby Halpern, Pat McLaughlin, Michael Tafel

Ira Hardman, Caryl Mikrut, Karen Terras

Mary Harter, Roy Miller, Carole Yoshida

Richard Harter, Kathleen Mineck, Agnes Zellner

Photography Laboratory

Debbie Aliber, Irene Glasner, Mara Terras, Carole Yoshida

Prehistoric Project

Diana Grodzins, Andree Wood

Professional Consultant / Trainer

Sheldon Newman


Irv Diamond, Kathleen Mineck

Readers for Hans Güterbock

George Junker, Anne Schumacher

Registrar's Office

Debbie Aliber, Janet Helman, Lillian Schwartz

Leila Foster, Lorrie Luther, Richard Watson

Peggy Grant, Georgie Maynard, Peggy Wick

Mary Grimshaw, Ila Patlogen, Lauren Zych

Substitute Suq Docents

Janet Helman, Jo Jackson


Barbara Storms Baird, Ruth Hyman, Rochelle Rossin

Muriel Brauer, Elizabeth Lassers, Jane Thain

Meg Dorman, Georgie Maynard, Norma van der Meulen

Patty Dunkel, Peggy Kovacs, Felicia Whitcomb

Peggy Grant, Agnethe Rattenborg

Suq Behind-the-Scenes Docent

Georgie Maynard

Suq Jewelry Designer

Norma van der Meulen

Suq Office and Stock Room

Georgie Maynard

Volunteers Emeritus

Elizabeth Baum, Laurie Fish, Eleanor Swift

Charlotte Collier, Carol Green, Vida Wentz

Mary D'Ouville, Dorothy Mozinski

Revised: February 7, 2007

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