Written by Joe Scotchie Friday, 02 March 2012 00:00
The Nassau County Museum of Art is a cultural showcase of the North Shore. In recent years, its variegated exhibits have highlighted the key moments in American history, such as the Revolutionary War and the Civil War, while exhibiting such legendary artists as Norman Rockwell and Richard Avedon. Art lovers and school children alike from all over Long Island continue to enjoy not only its exhibits, but also programs for youngsters and families.
Keeping the Roslyn Harbor-based museum going on a day-to-day basis is the remarkable work of some 350 volunteers, including some 45 docents who conduct a wide array of work, both clerical and informative. Their vital work includes exhibition tours and talks at the museum and work offsite at libraries and senior centers, where they spread the museum’s latest offerings through exhibition slide shows. In addition, volunteers greet the public at the front desk, at the membership desk, and at the museum’s evening receptions that feature the leaders of political and cultural life on Long Island. Other volunteers work in the Museum Store, where they answer the telephones or assist staff members with numerous administrative functions.
The dedication of the museum’s volunteers was highlighted recently when front desk volunteer Henrietta Dobin celebrated her 100th birthday. For the occasion, Ms. Dobin was honored by local dignitaries including Roslyn Harbor Mayor Yvette Edidin, Hon. Arnold A. Saltzman, founding president of Nassau County Museum of Art’s board of trustees, and representatives from the offices of Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano and NYS Assemblyman Charles D. Lavine.
Ms. Dobin is only one of the dedicated volunteers who keep the museum at the forefront of cultural life on Long Island. Here are observations from other volunteers.
“Bringing art to the public is the heart of what we do: giving exhibit tours, house tours, outdoor sculpture tours, off site presentations (The Outreach Program) and working on special events,” said Nancy Trager of Massapequa Park, co-coordinator of the museum’s docents. “The 45 active docents prepare original tours culling information from intensive individual research, art lectures at weekly meetings and group discussions of the artwork. The docents are passionate about art and dedicated to the museum and its visitors.”
“The Outreach Programs consist of slide show presentations based on either the current exhibit at NCMA or other art based content that are presented at civic and private organizations in the communities served by the museum,” added Riva Ettus of Plainview, co- coordinator of the museum’s docents. “In addition, the Brown Bag program is a monthly museum slide show presentation offering our patrons the opportunity to learn about the current exhibit prior to visiting the galleries.”
“I’ve been a volunteer for 11 years, always at the front desk. I asked for this assignment because I enjoy meeting people and acquainting them with the exhibitions, events and so much more about this museum that I’m so proud of,” said Sheila Kolodny of Jericho.
Obviously, volunteer work is a labor of love for people all over Long Island who come to Roslyn Harbor to keep the museum functioning at a top level.
For information about various volunteer opportunities at the museum, write to nbarone@ nassaumuseum.org.