Thursday, February 16, 2012

An ode to our tireless volunteers

Hi friends! Maria here. I'm a new voice on the MF weblog, but those of you who have been to the museum have probably met me – I staff the admissions desk 5 days a week. In addition to handing out those cool little plastic admissions tags, I'm responsible for other things too. One of them is recruiting, training, and scheduling volunteers to help out at the museum.
Erin Phillips keeps a watchful eye over the work of Chris Craychee and Jerstin Crosby at the Gestures 15 opening.

Volunteers, you say? Well, yes! Our staff is full of hardworking people, but we can't do it all. When that happens, we call in some of the most dedicated people in the MF family: our volunteers. Ever visited the MF? Chances are the person who served you your drink at that opening, helped you find your way through James Turrell's light installations on your first visit, or assembled the exhibition guide was a volunteer.

Instructor Teresa Martuccio and volunteer Sherry Johnson from United Cerebral Palsy brighten a Thursday morning.

Volunteers make a huge impact at the museum. To use some concrete figures, last year our volunteers gave us over 1,200 hours of their time over the course of nearly 400 visits. On average about 100 hours are contributed every month, and that doesn't even count special events like Garden Party, which require hundreds of hours by themselves.

Taylor Henzler and Kaitlyn Schwalje have a ball at the 2011 Garden Party!

Concrete numbers, however, will only give you half the story, so please allow me to brag about these fine people and all the ways they help us. Volunteers install artwork for exhibitions, greet and assist visitors in the galleries every weekend, run outreach programs and events with our staff, and provide behind-the-scenes administrative support too. They're the friendly faces and tireless workers whose efforts allow our educational programming to reach its fullest impact through outreach all summer. And allow our Garden Party to become the hottest ticket in town year after year. And allow our unique approach to on-site, immersive art to be shared with the world through fantastic openings and great experiences while visiting the galleries.

Annelise Bergevin and Michelle Liedke add some class to the lobby at the 2011 Garden Party VIP entrance.

In addition to being a hardworking and awesome group of people, our volunteers are pretty diverse, too – they're college students, brand-new alumni looking for new opportunities, parents, people with special needs, and full-time professionals. Their expertise covers everything from English literature to robotics, but they all have a passion for art and the Mattress Factory's mission.

Karen Forney quizzes our visitors on MF trivia in exchange for swag.

To put it simply, these people are an essential, invaluable part of the museum. We simply couldn't do it without them. So, the next time you see a volunteer at the museum, know that what you're enjoying is helped by their efforts. Volunteers, thank you for all of your hard work in 2011. We're looking forward to another great year!

Interested in joining this fabulous crew of dedicated folks? More info can be found here on our website or  by contacting us at volunteer [at]