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Home > Research > Publications > Annual Reports > 2000–2001 Annual Report

The Museum Volunteer Program

2000–2001 Annual Report

Catherine Dueñas and Terry Friedman

It has been a year of transition, expansion, and exploration for the Volunteer Program. Our nation experienced a Presidential election decided with the recount of chads and dimples, and the university community welcomed a musicologist as the new President of the University of Chicago. Within the Oriental Institute, visitors were mystified by the timeless beauty of the special traveling exhibit from the University of Pennsylvania, Treasures from the Royal Tombs of Ur and thrilled to see the stunning objects from ancient Persia on display again in a beautifully redesigned Persian Gallery space. As we moved through the opening months of the twenty-first century as well as through the dawn of a new millennium, we prepared for the challenges and opportunities ahead. The Volunteer Program, which began thirty-four years ago, has been able to change and evolve with the times, never loosing sight of its mission nor of its purpose.


Docent-led tours of the permanent galleries (the Joseph and Mary Grimshaw Egyptian Gallery and the newly reinstalled Persian Gallery) were in high demand, keeping the museum docents actively involved with museum visitors of all ages. With the opening of the Persian Gallery in September 2000 and with the opening of the special traveling exhibit, Treasures from the Royal Tombs of Ur, in October, volunteers were involved with learning exciting new material to enhance their tours. Many museum docents arranged sessions to work together to develop special-interest tour topics. These sessions proved to be a dynamic information exchange and helped to share ideas on interactive touring techniques, scheduling, and confirmation procedures.

This year the monthly docent captains’ meetings were reinstituted by the volunteers. This gave all the captains the opportunity to meet each other on Volunteer Day and exchange their ideas and thoughts on different aspects of the volunteer program, the museum, and many other concerns. The captains’ suggestions and observations were helpful in initiating many changes and improvements in the scheduling procedures of the tour program.

The Docent Captain System, which was started many years ago, has continued to run smoothly and efficiently. We are grateful to the captains: Debbie Aliber, Mary Harter, Teresa Hintzke, Nina Longley, Masako Matsumoto, Georgie Maynard, Roy Miller, Donald Payne, Stephen Ritzel, Lucie Sandel, Deloris Sanders, Larry Scheff, Anne Schumacher, Karen Terras, and Carole Yoshida for their dedicated work with the organization and maintenance of museum docent staffing for morning and afternoon tours. Their administrative skills and unwavering support have helped to make the museum tour program very successful. This year 8,708 people enjoyed the benefits of a docent-led tour. Congratulations to everyone who made this possible.

Special Slide Lectures

Our thanks and appreciation to Erl Dordal, Karen Terras, and to Mary Shea for pursuing independent research by developing special interest slide talks for museum visitors.

Erl Dordal developed a comprehensive slide talk based on our permanent Egyptian collection to help introduce students to the artifacts displayed in the Egyptian Gallery.

For the Naperville Community Associates of the Art Institute, Karen Terras prepared a slide presentation on ancient Egyptian and Persian art. Through her slides and extensive research, Karen helped to focus the group’s attention on a variety of artistic expressions displayed in the galleries.

Mary Shea captivated her audience with a rare contemporary view of “Persepolis Today.” Her insightful commentary and detailed photographs brought to life this ancient Persian capital.

New Badges for Volunteers

This year Oriental Institute Volunteers received handsome new identification badges as a special gift from Masako Matsumoto. Masako, along with Karen Terras, supervised the project in its entirety. The creative new badge features a picture of each volunteer within the outline of an Egyptian cartouche. Docents and the volunteers were honored to receive this distinctive new addition that identifies them to museum staff and visitors.

Volunteer Days

The Oriental Institute Docents and Volunteers continue to support the interactive monthly continuing education seminars. They use this opportunity to broaden their knowledge of the ancient Near East, while enjoying special camaraderie with their colleagues both here at the Institute and with volunteers at other cultural institutions.

The Volunteer Day programs have explored a broad spectrum of research and interests. Our thanks to: Abbas Alizadeh, Eleanor Barbanes, McGuire Gibson, Tracy Alsberg Hoffman, Clemens Reichel, Robert Ritner, Anna Rochester, Emily Teeter, Theo van den Hout, and Karen L. Wilson for their informative presentations and involvement with the Volunteer Program. We also want to thank volunteers Janet Helman, Kathleen Mineck, Larry Scheff, Mary Shea, and Carole Yoshida for their important contributions to Volunteer Day programming. Our thanks also go to Bob Cantu and his wonderful staff of volunteers, who have made our visits to The Field Museum very special occasions.

Volunteer Training Sessions

In preparation for the re-opening of the Persian Gallery and for the special traveling exhibit from the University of Pennsylvania, Treasures from the Royal Tombs of Ur, several special training sessions were developed to help familiarize the volunteers with the contents and historical significance of both of these exhibits. Our thanks to both Eleanor Barbanes and to Karen L. Wilson for their time and commitment to training the volunteers, and to Karen for producing a comprehensive Persian Gallery Guide to add to our training materials. This guide will be a valuable educational resource for docents and volunteers to use for years to come. We would also like to thank Clemens Reichel for preparing an additional training session for the docents on the archaeological exploration of Ur and the tombs.

A special note of appreciation goes to Tim Cashion, Director of Development. It was the Development Office that generously purchased copies of the catalog for the Treasures from the Royal Tombs of Ur exhibit and provided complimentary copies to all of the volunteers who attended the three Ur training sessions. These catalogs became an important part of the docent training materials. Our thanks to the Development Office for underwriting the cost of this beautiful catalog.

Field Trips

Volunteers enjoyed three field trips to other cultural institutions. In September, we gathered at the Art Institute to see Pharaohs of the Sun. We were very fortunate to have Emily Teeter accompany us through this magnificent exhibit. Volunteers enjoyed a two-hour private lecture and tour through the collection of artifacts representing this unique and thought-provoking period of Egyptian history.

In January, we traveled to The Field Museum to view the Kremlin Gold exhibit. Nearly fifty of our Volunteers participated in this special January Volunteer Day Program. This extraordinary collection highlighted royal masterpieces of the Russian aristocracy, religious icons, and items of personal adornment. In May, we were invited to return again to The Field Museum to see Inside Ancient Egypt. This was the first part of a two-part collaborative series to help familiarize each institution’s volunteers with the other’s permanent Egyptian collection. The visit helped to set the stage for our volunteers to participate in the summer/fall training sessions for both Inside Ancient Egypt and the upcoming groundbreaking exhibition, Cleopatra of Egypt: From History to Myth, which is scheduled to open on 20 October 2001.

Visiting Museum Docents

Throughout this past year, the volunteers also enjoyed the opportunity to meet visiting museum docents from other cultural institutions. Many volunteers joined us for an informal coffee and conversation with docents from the Carlos Museum at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, and The Field Museum right here in Chicago. The lively exchange of ideas, hospitable welcome, and outstanding gallery tours were appreciated by everyone who attended.


he Outreach Program continued to retain a loyal cadre of client support, as well as attract new audiences to enjoy this special “in-school field trip” experience. The Outreach Program continued to receive accolades and praise from students, educators, parents, and adults throughout metropolitan Chicago. The program has steadily grown in strength and popularity over the past five years. Our audience base represents diverse groups of all ages and cultural backgrounds. Even with the reopening of the Egyptian and Persian Galleries, many schools and community groups have opted to request an outreach visit to enhance their museum visit. This year the Outreach Docents “took the show on the road” to almost 1,000 participants. We would like to thank Anne Schumacher for taking on the task of coordinating the large outreach programs for us. Anne’s creative and administrative skills, both as our Outreach Captain and Thursday Afternoon Museum Docent Captain, are greatly appreciated and we thank her for a job well done.

Elder Hostel at the Oriental Institute

In July, we collaborated with the Anita M. Stone Jewish Community Center of Flossmoor and Governor’s State University in a week-long Elderhostel program. The series, “Ancient Egypt: A Cradle of Civilization” beautifully blended slide presentations with gallery talks and creative hands-on activities. We would like to thank the Docents who participated in this very successful Elder Hostel Program: Joe Diamond, Bud Haas, Debby Halpern, Janet Helman, Henriette Klawans, Masako Matsumoto, Robert McGuinness, Roy Miller, Kathleen Mineck, Rita Picken, Karen Terras, Deloris Sanders, and Carole Yoshida.

Volunteer Recognition and Annual Holiday Luncheon

Each year faculty, staff, and volunteers gather to enjoy a festive holiday celebration for December Volunteer Day. This popular program includes a guest speaker, as well as the introduction of new volunteers, and the volunteer recognition ceremony. The event culminates with a lovely holiday luncheon. This year’s special event took place on Monday 4 December. The morning program featured McGuire Gibson, who gave an extremely interesting lecture on “Tell Hamoukar and Its Relevance to the Origins of Civilization and the First Empire.” His talk focused on the recent discoveries of early urbanization in Syria.

Even though we did not have formal docent training sessions, we were pleased to welcome aboard nineteen new members into the Volunteer Program this past year: Catherine Deans-Barrett, Joe Diamond, Sam Dreessen, Tom Duda, Dario Giacomoni, Terry and Bill Gillespie, Leigh Ann Hirschman, Nancy Huth, Rachel Kreiter, Lo Luong Lo, Sherif Marcus, Nancy Patterson, Ila Patlogan, Semra Prescott, Joy Schochet, Mara Terras, Claire Thomas, and Roxanne Volkman. The motivation and enthusiasm of these new volunteers has infused both energy and vitality into the volunteer corps. We also welcome the return of a docent from one of the first docent training classes, who has gone on to become a visiting committee member and is now helping the registrar. Welcome back, O. J. Sopranos!

Following the introduction of the new volunteers, the Year 2000 Recognition Award recipients were announced. Congratulations and bravo to this year’s ten recipients!

5 Year Award

Patty Dunkel, Pat McLaughlin, Joyce Weil*

15 Year Award

Christel Betz

20 Year Award

Maria Ahlstrom, Debbie Aliber, Dorothy Blindt

25 Year Award

Teresa Hintzke, JoAnn Putz

35 Year Award

Elizabeth Baum

The Recognition Ceremony has traditionally been a time to celebrate the years of devoted service each award recipient has given to the Oriental Institute, as well as a time to remember those volunteers who have passed away during the year.

After the conclusion of the morning program, docents and volunteers were invited by Gene Gragg, Director of the Oriental Institute, to enjoy a lovely catered luncheon at the Quadrangle Club in the company of the faculty and staff of the Institute. Our thanks and appreciation go to the Development Office for graciously underwriting this festive annual occasion and for providing complimentary memberships for all the 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 Library

The Docent Library has continued to expand and flourish throughout this past year. Under the skillful guidance and supervision of Debbie Aliber, the Docent Librarian, and her assistants, our collection has continued to grow, aided by the many generous donations and contributions from faculty, staff, and volunteers. This year Debbie and her assistant librarians (Patricia Hume, Sandra Jacobsohn, Deloris Sanders, and Daila Shefner) focused their attention on the development of a Resource File for the volunteers. These files now catalog a variety of articles and special interest research topics that are organized by geographic area. We encourage everyone to peruse this new addition to the collection.


We were delighted this year to have the opportunity to work with two bright and motivated interns, Rachel Kreiter from Francis Parker School and Claire Thomas from the University of Chicago. From administrative tasks to museum tours, these energetic and creative interns made many important contributions to the Volunteer Program.

In Memoriam

We were saddened this past year to lose four devoted friends and supporters of the volunteer program: Laurie Fish, Peggy Kovacs, Joyce Weil, and Vida Wentz.

Laurie Fish had been a loyal Thursday afternoon museum docent for many years and continued to support the program. Laurie had just celebrated her 90th birthday.

Peggy Kovacs had been a Suq volunteer for twenty years. Although not actively involved the past few years because of poor health, Peggy remained a loyal friend and supporter of the Volunteer Program.

Joyce Weil was tragically killed in an automobile accident in February while driving home from a birthday party for her grandson. Joyce was working with McGuire Gibson and Clemens Reichel on the Diyala project, scanning the materials and the photographs from the project into a computer database. Joyce was also an Outreach Docent and an avid traveler. Her gifts of time and talent helped to enrich the volunteer program, the museum, and the Institute. She will be greatly missed.

Vida Wentz was a longtime member and volunteer who supported the Oriental Institute for many years.

In Retrospect

Throughout its history, the volunteer program has adapted well to changing demands, while still providing a rich and rewarding experience for its volunteers. This could have never been possible without the loyalty and support of the faculty and staff of the Oriental Institute. Throughout the years, they have been our role models, teachers, and mentors, sharing their wealth of knowledge and expertise, sparking our curiosity, and encouraging us to explore countless resources for our continuing education. Their accessibility and friendship motivate and inspire the high level of 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 and Candi McDowell, Education Programs Assistants; Carole Krucoff, Head of Education and Public Programs; and Anna Rochester, Teacher and Family Services Coordinator; for their abiding support throughout this past year. In a beehive of activity, they are the voice of calm reassurance and sage advice.

We were very fortunate this past year to have as a volunteer a professional facilitator and consultant, Sheldon Newman. He has assisted the Volunteer Program and Museum Education in a variety of capacities for the past three years. This past year, Sheldon assisted us with our internal staff dynamics from defining job descriptions to projecting long-term program goals. Sheldon has been there to help us find productive solutions for our many concerns and problems.

The new century provided a moment in time to pause and reflect upon the Volunteer Program’s past accomplishments while at the same time to set our vision for the program’s future goals and direction in the twenty-first century. We have worked diligently to ensure the continued growth and vitality of the program. Whether through in-house tours, outreach visits, or over the Internet, the Oriental Institute Volunteer Program now can share its rich experience and knowledge with an ever-growing public audience. The volunteers are a rare and cherished asset. Their hard work and enthusiasm continue to transform the ancient world into an exciting adventure for visitors to the Institute and the museum. They are active contributing partners and valued human resources in the Institute’s ongoing daily operation. Whether behind-the-scenes, assisting with research, or in the public eye doing gallery tours or outreach visits, the docents and the volunteers show unwavering support and inspiration to all. We admire their numerous talents, we applaud their many accomplishments, and we wish to thank them for their many hours of dedication and hard work.

Advisors to Volunteer Program

Carlotta Maher, Peggy Grant, Janet Helman

Honorary Volunteers-At-Large

Carol Randel, Elizabeth Sonnenschein

Museum Docents

Debbie Aliber, Dario Giacomoni, Nina Longley, Laura Sanchez, Bernadine Basile, Nancy Gould, Sherif Marcus, Lucie Sandel, Jane Belcher, Bud Haas, Masako Matsumoto, Deloris Sanders, Rebecca Binkley, Cissy Haas, Georgie Maynard, Larry Scheff, Dorothy Blindt, Debby Halpern, Roy Mille,r Joy Schocket, Wanda Bolton, Ira Hardman, Kathy Mineck, Anne Schumacher, Myllicent Buchana,n Mary Harte,r George Morgan, Daila Shefner, David Covil, Janet Helman, Nancy Patterson, Bernadette Strnad, Gabriele Da Silva, Lee Herbst, Denise Paul, Mari Terman, Catherine Dean-Barret, Teresa Hintzke, Kitty Picken, Karen Terras, Joe Diamond, Leigh Ann Hirschman, Rita Picken, Claire Thomas, Erl Dordal, Henriette Klawans, Semra Prescott, Roxanne Volkmann, Sam Dreessen, Elizabeth Lassers, Patrick Regnery, Carole Yoshida, Margaret Foorman, Lo Luong Lo, Stephen Ritzel

Outreach Volunteers

Bernadine Basile, Cissy Haas, Betsy Kremers, George Morgan, Rebecca Binkley, Debby Halpern, Nina Longley, Stephen Ritzel, Richard Blindt, Ira Hardman, Masako Matsumoto, Deloris Sanders, Myllicent Buchanan, Mary Harter, Georgie Maynard, Larry Scheff, Janet Calkins, Richard Harter, Robert McGuiness, Anne Schumacher, Hazel Cramer, Janet Helman, Pat McLaughlin, Karen Terras, Erl Dordal, Lee Herbst, Caryl Mikrut, Claire Thomas, Bettie Dwinell, Mary Jo Khuri, Roy Miller, Carole Yoshida, Bud Haas, Henriette Klawans, Kathy Mineck, Agnes Zellner,

Museum Education and Family Programs Volunteers

Debbie Aliber, Elizabeth Gannett, Kristen Mineck, Daila Shefner, Rebecca Binkley, Debby Halpern, Ila Patlogen, Mari Terman, Myllicent Buchanan, Ira Hardman, Kitty Picken, Karen Terras, Kristina Cooper, Lee Herbst, Rita Picken, Mara Terras, Gabriele Da Silva, Nina Longley, Stephen Ritzel, Julia van den Hout, Joe Diamond, Carl Mineck, Lucie Sandel, Carole Yoshida, Erl Dordal, Kathy Mineck, Deloris Sanders,

Suq Docents

Maria Ahlstrom, Patty Dunkel, Peggy Kovacs†, Norma van der Meulen, Barbara Storms Baird, Peggy Grant, Agnethe Rattenborg, Felicia Whitcomb, Muriel Brauer, Ruth Hyman, Rochelle Rossin, Meg Dorman, Georgie Maynard, Jane Thain

Substitute Suq Docents

Janet Helman, Jo Jackson

Suq Behind-the-Scenes Docent

Georgie Maynard

Suq Jewelry Designer

Norma van der Meulen

Suq Office and Stock Room Volunteer

Georgie Maynard

Museum Archives Volunteers

Hazel Cramer, Patricia Hume, Lillian Schwartz, Carole Yoshida, Peggy Grant, Sandra Jacobsohn, Helaine Staver

Registrar’s Office Volunteers

Debbie Aliber, Mary Grimshaw, O. J. Sopranos, Anne Yanaway, Pearl Bell, Janet Helman, Tamara Siuda, Leila Foster, Georgie Maynard, Richard Watson, Peggy Grant, Ila Patlogen, Peggy Wick

Diyala Project Volunteers

Richard Harter, Helaine Staver, Joyce Weil†, Betsy Kremers, George Sundell, Carole Yoshida

Hamoukar Project Volunteers

Betsy Kremers

Photography Lab Volunteers

Irene Glasner, Betsy Kremers, Madeline Spragle, Carole Yoshida

Courtyard Volunteers

Terry Gillespie, William Gillespie, Robert Herbst

Computer Lab Volunteers

Peg Cipolla, Nancy Gould, Sriram Kanteti, Karen Terras, Peter Friedman, Richard Harter, Nicholas Lezak, Mara Terras

Docent Library

Head Librarian-Debbie Aliber

Assistant Librarians

Sandra Jacobsohn, Deloris Sanders, Daila Shefner

Assistants to Epigraphic Survey and Chicago House

Carlotta Maher, Crennan Ray, David Ray, Mary Grimshaw

Assistants to the Prehistoric Project

Diana Grodzins, Andree Wood

Hittite Dictionary Project Volunteer

Irv Diamond

Publications Office Volunteer

Irv Diamond

Iranian Prehistoric Project Volunteer

Janet Helman

Volunteers Emeritae

Elizabeth Baum, Mary D’Ouville, Carol Green, Eleanor Swift, Charlotte Collier, Laurie Fish††, Dorothy Mozinski, Vida Wentz††

†Deceased 2000

††Deceased 2001

Revised: July 30, 2007

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