i took the quiz and i’m helen of troy.*
Saturday marked my first day of actual work as a volunteer at the Walters Art Museum down in Mt Vernon (that’s Baltimore, for those of you not from ’round these parts). I had done the orientation and met lots of other volunteers–most of whom I’ll never see again–two weeks ago, got to see the new exhibit and all that jazz (have I mentioned that you should go see it? It’s really lovely, especially if you’ve an appreciation for Greek vase-work).
Surprising to everyone, myself included, I didn’t wake up this morning nervous and worrying out of my gourd. I know! I’m as shocked as you are. I was perhaps a tiny bit so, but nothing like my normal, and nothing like I expected. I woke up nice and early, and took my time eating and showering and getting ready. I didn’t sweat it. It was pretty effin’ awesome, if you ask me.
I’m not sure why, but I like it.
So I arrived at the museum at about quarter to eleven. There were already a good number of people there, as today was one of the regularly scheduled Family Festival days. The museum does these themed days periodically, both to raise awareness in the community about new exhibits (this one centered around Heroes; the exhibit as well as those in our own communities) and to encourage families to come in and interact with each other and with the art. There was a fire engine from the City FD parked out front when I got there; the firefighters were one of our local heroes groups being honored. We also had a group of city cops in the museum, but I never got a chance to see them.
There were tons of activities for the kids: arts and crafts (can I tell you, I so wanted to go down to the Family Arts Center and make myself a Spartan shield), as well as several performances throughout the day in the Graham Auditorium (a storyteller, an author/illustrator doing a reading accompanied by his own artwork, a theatre troupe that I believe works with the deaf and does ASL through theatre). There were also several gentlemen dressed in Greek (for lack of a better term, as we all know no one in Ancient Greece actually referred to themselves as Greek) warrior garb. They wandered throughout the museum, taking pictures and talking to people. Turns out these guys do this regularly, attend various festivals and events in their garb–all of which made by themselves, I might add.
My job as a volunteer is going to be greeting. I stood in the atrium and, yanno, said Hi to people when they walked in the door. This was the only part that gave me pause, but it’s not as though I’ve not had plenty of training in the past in saying hello and smiling to people, and letting them know where to go and what’s going on. Hi, I worked retail for nearly a decade. This? This I can handle. Today we gave out gold laurel wreaths fashioned after those given to the victorious in Ancient Greece (both to winning athletes and to other victorious types too, if I recall my history well), and told parents about all the different activities going on.
And yanno what? I had a great time. There were tons of people in today–though I was expecting an utter madhouse. I chatted with folks, I told them what was going on. I answered questions (as best I could; I’m still learning the layout of the museum), and I smiled at folks a lot. I’d forgotten that I do enjoy that part of the job. Cynic I may be, and anti-social as all hell in my way, I have always been pretty good at customer service. Weird, I know. It’s the only real acting I’m any good at (cuz we all know Lizzie doth not belong on stage).
So it was a lot of fun, and I really enjoyed myself. I completely forgot about the headache I’d woken up with until I got in the car at three to head home. Then it decided to reassert itself verily, and I had to lay down for twenty minutes when I got home so I could see straight again.
I feel like I made a good impression on the museum staff that were there today too. I really like my supervisor, she is a super-cool lady. And I got to chat a bit with her supervisor as well; she’s also very cool. She asked me what decided me on volunteering at the Walters, and I told her that it is my fave museum (ha, I’m a nerd, aren’t I?) and that I really hope to do grad studies in museum work, so I figured I should really get a bit of experience within the museum environment. I briefly met one of the conservators (I believe she was one of the senior conservators, if not *the* senior conservator), and I would love to sit down and pick her brains. Hell, I would love to really get to talk to any of the lovely people I met today about working in a museum, as this is truly what I want to do.
And, even though I’ve only just started with volunteering, I think it’s only going to serve to reinforce my notion that museum work is the right choice for me. Just being in that place made me happy. I’m really glad that I decided to do this and I kinda can’t wait til the 7th, when I’ll be there again!
*The new exhibit features a lot of interactive elements; one of which a computer based quiz where you answer several questions to find out which hero you are most like. I took the quiz and I got Helen of Troy. I didn’t even try to throw it in that direction, either!
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Tags: feeling good about myself, heroes, i heart museums, museum studies, volunteering, walters, walters art museum