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Home > Research > Publications > Annual Reports > 1998-99 Annual Report

The Museum Volunteer Program


Catherine Dueñas and Terry Friedman

It has been a remarkable year for the Volunteer Program, one filled with significant growth and progress. With the announcement that the Joseph and Mary Grimshaw Egyptian Gallery would open in spring 1999, we carefully began to examine and evaluate the role of the Volunteer Program on the threshold of the twenty-first century. We saw our mission as twofold: encompassing past experience with future long-range strategies. Our first goal was to recruit, train, and introduce new members into the Volunteer Corps, while at the same time encouraging all current Volunteers, active and inactive, to renew their commitment to the Volunteer Program.

Our second goal was to keep the Outreach Program alive and vibrant, delivering substantive programming to an ever-expanding audience. With the Egyptian Gallery not scheduled to reopen until late spring 1999, Outreach continued to serve as a viable educational alternative, offering on-site as well as off-site field trip experiences. Outreach, with its versatile programs and diverse audience base, has become an integral part of the Volunteer Program over the past four years, helping to keep both the Volunteer Program and the museum alive and in the public eye throughout the period of gallery closure.

Volunteer Training

Fall was a very busy season for the Docents and Volunteers. Each Saturday from 10 October through 21 November, both returning and new Volunteers gathered in Breasted Hall to hear a series of lectures about ancient Egypt. The title of the training class was Introducing Ancient Egypt and it focused on the topics and themes that would be presented in the new Egyptian Gallery. Afternoon break-out sessions focused attention on various volunteer options at the Oriental Institute.

The class was a successful collective effort that creatively combined new volunteers with experienced returning volunteers. We were also pleased to have the participation of many Chicago Public School teachers, who attended this class as part of an in-service training program funded by the Lloyd A. Fry Foundation. Their input provided a springboard for the discussion of important practical teaching techniques to enhance docent-led tours in the museum.

We would like to express our immense appreciation to everyone who worked on the Volunteer Training Class. Emily Teeter initiated and developed the themes and content of the Volunteer Class materials. Our thanks to the faculty and staff members, who gave nine dynamic lectures: Karen Wilson, Peter Dorman, Frank Yurco, Emily Teeter, John Larson, Robert Ritner, Steve Vinson, and John Sanders.

Special thanks to those who worked on the Volunteer Training Manual. Emily Teeter, curator of the Egyptian Gallery, wrote the Training Manual, and Judy Chavin, Carole Krucoff, John Larson, and Karen Wilson made helpful editing additions. The end result produced an excellent instructional tool for the new Egyptian Gallery.

We are grateful to the volunteers who enriched training by presenting very interesting break-out sessions to the class participants: For "What An Archaeologist Does," thanks to Bud Haas, Evelyn Ruskin, and Larry Scheff; for the "Mock Outreach Break-out Session," thanks to Janet Calkins, Hazel Cramer, Masako Matsumoto, Diane Posner, Stephen Ritzel, Deloris Sanders, and Carole Yoshida; for "Reading Egyptian Hieroglyphs," thanks to George Junker; and for "Museum Education at the Oriental Institute," thanks to Carole Krucoff.

Last, but certainly not least, our thanks to the many volunteers who shared their talents and organizational skills to help make the class sessions run smoothly. These were the volunteers who faithfully assisted with setup, registration, and cleanup throughout the entire series: Debbie Aliber, Hazel Cramer, Peggy Grant, Masako Matsumoto, Denise Paul, Diane Posner, Stephen Ritzel, Christina Ruhaak, and Carole Yoshida.

Follow-up Training Sessions

On 8 May and 15 May, two follow-up training sessions were offered to prepare the volunteers to give docent-led tours of the new Egyptian Gallery. Emily Teeter, curator of the Egyptian Gallery, led these two additional training sessions for the docents and volunteers. The themes and objects on view in the new Egyptian Gallery were beautifully presented to the volunteers using slides and a discussion format to help familiarize everyone with the gallery content.

The afternoon activities on 8 May were highlighted by the video "Docent on Tour," which was produced by the Smithsonian Institution. After viewing this special video, which discusses touring techniques, the volunteers and several Chicago Public School teachers participated in break-out sessions. These sessions resulted in some excellent ideas for interactive touring techniques, which docents will be able to use with visiting school groups in the museum.

The 15 May afternoon session featured Sheldon Newman, a professional training consultant. Mr. Newman was introduced to the Oriental Institute through a recruitment advertisement for new volunteers posted on the website. Although he was unable to participate in the training class, he was pleased to offer his services as a training consultant. With the opening of the new Egyptian Gallery on the horizon, he wanted to develop a special program that would give the volunteers an opportunity to discuss their concerns as well as to create an open forum for dialogue about their role and responsibilities as tour guides in the new Egyptian Gallery. The second part of the afternoon program allowed everyone to join break-out session groups to brainstorm and work creatively on producing problem-solving techniques. The end result was a fascinating exchange of useful ideas.

Our New Office Space

Finally in September, after months of planning and preparation, we moved into our spacious new office in Room 221. Our thanks and appreciation to the many volunteers who helped facilitate the move and who participated in the organization throughout this important transition. Hats off to Debbie Aliber, Todd Chavin, Mary and Richard Harter, Sandy Jacobsohn, Daila Shefner, and Helaine Staver. Special thanks to Oriental Institute staff members Randolph Olive and Joe Scott, who helped us move and install the book shelves in the Docent Library; and to John Sanders who graciously moved and installed our computers, printer, and telephones. Thank you all. We could never have done it without your help.


This year the Docent Library has continued to expand and flourish under the supervision of the Docent Librarian, Debbie Aliber, and her library committee: Sandy Jacobsohn, Deloris Sanders, and Daila Shefner. Special thanks to all of them for continuing to maintain this wonderful educational resource for the docents and volunteers.

The Docent Library has also received many generous book donations and gifts from faculty, staff, and volunteers. We were very honored to receive a special contribution from the South Suburban Archaeological Society in memory of Barbara James.

As a result of our move into the Education Office Suite in Room 221, the library is now housed in a comfortable conference room, adjacent to the Museum Education Office. Docents and volunteers can come in to enjoy a cup of coffee, have lunch, or just read quietly in this new space.

Docent Days

Volunteers enthusiastically attended and participated in Docent Day programs and activities throughout this past year. With the construction phase of the renovation project completed, the volunteers were able to return to Breasted Hall to hear a variety of fascinating lectures. We would like to express our appreciation to the members of the faculty, staff, and to the volunteers who provided enriching learning experiences for us all: Abbas Alizadeh, John Brinkman, Norman Golb, Martha Roth, Matthew Stolper, Emily Teeter, Aslihan Yener, Tim Cashion, Larry Scheff, and Mary Shea. We would like to thank everyone for making our Docent Days very rewarding.

Field Trips

Volunteers enjoyed the opportunity to visit three culturally diverse and unique art collections on their field trips this year. These excursions served as thought-provoking and enlightening educational experiences. They highlighted intriguing collections and enhanced our appreciation of a wide variety of art forms. Our thanks to Virginia Heaven of the Haifa Faisal Collection; Ned Broderick, Joe Petrocelli, and Sondra Varco of the National Vietnam Veterans Art Museum; and to Bob Cantu, Frank Yurco, and Docent Larry Scheff of the Field Museum for inviting the volunteers to visit these wonderful educational resources in the City of Chicago.


We were delighted this year to have the opportunity to work with three energetic and motivated interns who assisted the Volunteer Program in many ways. Christina Ruhaak, who came to us from Skidmore College; Emily Schuttenberg from the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools; and Michael Tafel from the University of Illinois at Chicago. From administrative tasks to Outreach Programs, their youthful energy and creative spirit has added so much to the Volunteer Program. We thank them for their time and commitment to the Oriental Institute.

Graduation, Volunteer Recognition, and the Annual Holiday Luncheon

On 9 December, faculty, staff, and volunteers gathered to enjoy a festive celebration for December Docent Day, which featured Volunteer Training Graduation, Volunteer Recognition Ceremonies, and a lovely Holiday Luncheon.

Our guest speaker for the morning program was Professor Norman Golb, who discussed "What's New With the Dead Sea Scrolls." It was a fascinating update that highlighted some of the historical background, discovery, and controversial interpretation of the scrolls. The morning's activities culminated with the Volunteer Recognition Ceremony.

Welcome Aboard to the Class of 1998

Congratulations to our thirty-three new graduates. This was the largest graduating class in the thirty-two year history of the Volunteer Program.

Following the lecture, the program continued with the introduction of the 1998 graduating class of new volunteers and the recognition of the multi-year honorees:

Class of 1998

Wanda Bolton, Pat Hume, George Morgan

Lyla Bradley, Mary Irons, Alyda Nicholson

Myllicent Buchanan, Maryam Keshavarz, Donald Payne

Alexandra Cordts, Janet Kessler, Christina Ruhaak

Dave Covill, Henriette Klawans, Kate San Fratello

Genevieve Daniels, Patrick Klimczyk, Lucie Sandel

James Davis, Charles Lang, Caroline Taylor

Patty Dunkel, Elizabeth Lassers, Mari Terman

Nancy Gould, Judy Licata, Karen Terras

Deborah Halpern, Robert McGinness, Maureen Toner

Lee Herbst, Pat Mclaughlin, Joyce Weil

5 Year Honorees

Bernadine Basile, Evelyn Ruskin, Denise Paul

Jane Belcher, Ira Hardman, Diane Posner

Erl Dordal, Carole Krucoff, Deloris Sanders

Bettie Dwinell, Johanna Lucas, Bernadette Strnad

Irene Glasner, Roy Miller, Annette Teaney

Kaylin Goldstein, Kathy Mineck, Jane Thain

10 Year Honorees

William Boone, John Gay, Mary Grimshaw, Daila Shefner

15 Year Honorees

Melanie Petrosky, Carole Yoshida

20 Year Honorees

Muriel Brauer, Janet Helman, Peggy Kovacs

Anita Greenberg, Marsha Holden, Norma van der Meulen

25 Year Honoree

Sally Grunsfeld

Bravo and congratulations to the class of 1998 and all honorees.

With the conclusion of the morning program, the docents and volunteers were invited to join the faculty and staff of the Oriental Institute for a delicious catered luncheon at the Quadrangle Club. Our thanks and appreciation to Director Gene Gragg for graciously underwriting this festive occasion and to Tim Cashion and the Development Office for providing complimentary memberships to all the Recognition Award recipients. We would also like to give a special note of thanks to Jean Grant for taking memorable photographs of the day's events.

January Tea at the President's Home

In January, the faculty, staff, and volunteers were graciously welcomed at the home of President and Mrs. Sonnenschein for a "fireside chat" and a lovely tea reception. Despite the inclement weather, a dedicated group of faculty, staff, and volunteers gathered to hear Professor Gene Gragg speak about "The Oriental Institute and Its Museum." Professor Gragg gave an interesting historical retrospective concerning the background of the Oriental Institute and its founder, James Henry Breasted. His talk focused on Breasted's definition of purpose and projected future goals for the Oriental Institute and its museum. Professor Gragg's presentation also discussed some of the intricate architectural details of the building, highlighting such items as the tympanum over the entrance to the Institute.


Volunteers have enthusiastically continued to embrace the Outreach Program, devoting their time and energies to producing and presenting unique interactive learning experiences for a variety of audiences throughout metropolitan Chicago, Indiana, Michigan, and Wisconsin. Outreach has continued to be the vital link in helping the Institute stay "in the public eye" during the period of renovation. The program's content and execution brought history and archaeology alive to participants young and old. The numbers of people served remained consistent with last year's statistics, demonstrating the continued popularity, demand for, and importance of this valuable educational resource. Since the Outreach Program began in 1995, requests for visits have continued to increase each year. We are extremely proud to announce that the Outreach Program has now served over 10,000 people. Bravo to everyone who has helped us reach this milestone.


During this past year, we were very pleased to participate in our second Elderhostel Program with the University of Chicago's International House. From 10 to 14 May, Elderhostel participants explored "The Treasures of the Oriental Institute." Our appreciation to all the volunteers who helped to make the week-long program a great success. Kudos to the following presenters: Bud Haas, Janet Helman, Deloris Sanders, Larry Scheff, and Carole Yoshida, and to those who assisted with hands-on activities: Debbie Aliber, Debby Halpern, Mary Harter, Lee Herbst, Rita Picken, and Rochelle Rossin.


We have been very fortunate to receive many generous financial and in-kind contributions from volunteers and supporters this past year.

Contributors to the Docent Program have included William Boone, Mary D'Ouville, Bettie Dwinell, Margaret Foorman (in memory of Sally Grunsfeld), Peggy Kovacs, Rochelle Rossin, and Eleanor Swift (in memory of Ida DePencier)

A special note of appreciation to Volunteer Emeritus Betty Baum for her generosity. Her gift provided the funds to purchase a state-of-the-art laser printer for the Volunteer and Education Office.

In Memoriam

This year the Volunteer Program lost three loyal friends and supporters: Ida DePencier, Sally Grunsfeld, and Sally Zimmerman. Collectively, these extraordinary women devoted over 75 years of service to the Oriental Institute and to its Volunteer Program. All of these women were wonderful role models who exemplified a spirit of intellectual curiosity, learning, and generosity. We will miss all of them greatly.

Opening of the Egyptian Gallery

May was certainly an historic month for the Oriental Institute Museum. For over three years, visitors had waited patiently for the new Grimshaw Egyptian Gallery to reopen. The official public opening took place over Memorial Day weekend, 29-31 May. Nearly 2,000 visitors came through the doors to see "Egypt Unveiled" and to view the artifacts in the beautiful new gallery space. Volunteers were stationed in the Egyptian Gallery to serve as "Ask Me Docents," helping greet museum visitors, answering questions, and assisting with planned activities in other areas of the building. A steady flow of enthusiastic visitors, from senior citizens to children in strollers, were impressed with the majestic beauty of this world-renowned collection and were thrilled to participate in the activities involving this momentous opening.

In Retrospect

The Docent and Volunteer Program is poised and ready to accept the challenges that it faces in the 21st century. Throughout its thirty-three year history, the program has been able to adapt and change with the times. The closing of the museum and the development of a successful Outreach Program has taught us how resilient and resourceful the Volunteer Program can be. We are grateful to the faculty and staff of the Oriental Institute for their support and friendship throughout the years. As our teachers and mentors, they continue to share their wealth of knowledge, sparking our curiosity and supplying countless resources for our ongoing continuing education. The accessibility and involvement of both faculty and staff in the Volunteer Program help to 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, Susy Giles, Carole Krucoff, Emily Napolitano, and Anna Rochester, for their guidance and faithful support throughout this past year.

In conclusion, the Docent and Volunteer Program is well prepared to meet the challenges of the twenty-first century. The Volunteers are the Institute's most valuable asset. Whether working behind the scenes, assisting with research, doing outreach, or guiding in the museum, their creativity, tenacity, and unwavering support are an inspiration to all. We thank them for their many contributions, we admire their numerous talents, and we take pride in all they have accomplished.

Advisors to Volunteer Program

Carlotta Maher, Peggy Grant, Janet Helman

Honorary Volunteer-At-Large

Elizabeth Sonnenschein

Museum Docents and Outreach Volunteers

Debbie Aliber, Richard Harter, Pat McLaughlin

Bernadine Basile, Janet Helman, Denise Paul

Jane Belcher, Lee Herbst, Kitty Picken

Rebecca Binkley, Teresa Hintzke, Rita Picken

Dorothy Blindt, Patricia Hume, Diane Posner

Richard Blindt, Alice James, Dawn Prena

Wanda Bolton, George Junker, Stephen Ritzel

Myllicent Buchanan, Jeanne Junker, Adrienne Runge

Janet Calkins, Maryam Keshavarz, Laura Sanchez

Hazel Cramer, Mary Jo Khuri, Deloris Sanders

Lilian Cropsey, Henriette Klawans, Larry Scheff

Erl Dordal, Betsy Kremers, Anne Schumacher

Bettie Dwinell, Nina Longley, Daila Shefner

Margaret Foorman, Jo Lucas, Bernie Shelly

Evelyn Ruskin, Kay Matsumoto, Helaine Staver

Bud Haas, Georgie Maynard, Bernadette Strnad

Cissy Haas, Roy Miller, Mari Terman

Debby Halpern, Kathy Mineck, Karen Terras

Ira Hardman, George Morgan, Mauren Toner

Mary Harter, Caryl Mikrut, Carole Yoshida

Museum Education and Family Programs Volunteers

Ethan Longhenry, Danielle Sherrod

Kathy, Kristen, and Carl Mineck, Jane Thain

Theresa Musacchio, Mara Terras

Suq Docents

Barbara Storms Baird, Ruth Hyman, Rochelle Rossin

Muriel Brauer, Peggy Kovacs, Mary Schulman

Meg Dorman, Elizabeth Lassers, Jane Thain

Patty Dunkel, Georgie Maynard, Norma van der Meulen

Barbara Frey, Agnethe Rattenborg, Felicia Whitcomb

Peggy Grant

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 Volunteers

Georgie Maynard, Eleanor Swift

Membership and Development Volunteers

Debbie Aliber, Mary Grimshaw, Carlotta Maher

Peggy Grant, Bud Haas

Volunteers Assisting with American Research Center in Egypt Conference

Rebecca Binkley, Lee Herbst, Felicia and John Whitcomb

Meg Dorman, Kay Matsumoto, Carole Yoshida

Bettie Dwinell, Georgie Maynard

Debby Halpern, Rita and Kitty Picken

Volunteers Assisting with the Theban Workshop

Pat Hume, Bernadette Strnad

Museum Archives Volunteers

Hazel Cramer, Sandra Jacobsohn, Mary Shea

Peggy Grant, Janet Zell Kessler, Helaine Staver

Patricia Hume, Lillian Schwartz, Carole Yoshida

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, Helaine Staver, Carole Yoshida

Betsy Kremers, Joyce Weil

Medinet Habu Project

Hazel Cramer, Peggy Grant, Mary Harter

Göltepe/Kestel Project and Amuq Valley Regional Project

Joan Friedmann, Bud Haas, Betsy Kremers, Daila Shefner

Photography Laboratory Volunteers

Maria Ahlstrom, Hugh Christ, Dawn Prena, Carole Yoshida

Debbie Aliber, Irene Glasner, Mara Terras

Computer Laboratory Volunteers

Lyla Bradley, Nancy Gould, Karen Terras

Irv Diamond, Peggy Grant, Robert Randolph

Irene Glasner, Richard Harter, Les Stermer

Conservation Laboratory Volunteer

Vilma Basilissi

Docent 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 the Prehistoric Project

Diana Grodzins, Andree Wood

Hittite Dictionary Project Volunteers

Irv Diamond, Kathy Mineck, Anne Schumacher

Irene Glasne, Denise Paul

Readers for Professor Emeritus Hans Güterbock

George Junker, Anne Schumacher


Irv Diamond , Roy Miller

Publications - The Demotic Verbal System

Ruth Caraher, Denise Paul, Tom Dousa

Irene Glasner, Kathy Mineck, Irv Diamond

Iranian Prehistoric Project Volunteer

Janet Helman

Volunteers Emeritus

Elizabeth Baum, Laurie Fish, Eleanor Swift

William Boone, Charlotte Collier, Carol Green, Vida Wentz, Mary D'Ouville

Sally Grunsfeld*, Sally Zimmerman*, Ida DePencier*, Dorothy Mozinski

*Deceased 1998 and 1999

Revised: February 7, 2007

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