7 Replies Latest reply on Feb 9, 2010 9:06 AM by M_Davidson

    Art Docent

    ff_rolemodel
      Volunteering in retirement needs to be in some area different from that of your career.  After years of clinical social work and teaching social work, I looked in a different direction, and found my city's art museum.  Little did I realize when I signed up that the training for an art docent takes almost a year and involves as much work as a graduate course!  I have done research, written presentations, shadowed docents in the museum and in outreach to schools.  The art volunteers are absolutely delightful people from many walks of life.  A number of them moved to this city with their spouses to retire, and chose the art museum as their first connection, and they are very pleased with the result.  I have lived here many years, but retirement creates a new world, and opens the way to new involvements and projects.  LDR
        • Re: Art Docent
          EJG
          Hello, ff_rolemodel, everyone.  I am not yet retired but chose as a segue thereto to become an active Seattle Art Museum
          volunteer when the museum re-opened after completion of its expansion project last year.   While i am not a docent,  I
          volunteer as a gallery meeter/greeter, and I must say I enjoy it tremendously.   My paid work does not provide a lot of interpersonal contact, so I feel I am getting some balance in my life by volunteering in a public setting.

          Based on my own situation I tend to agree with the contention that it is best to try something different in retirement rather than do what has been done throughout a work career.  However, I can also see the benefit to the non-profit institution of offering skills and expertise acquired.


          Best wishes,
          EJG
            • Re: Art Docent
              MarkSullivan
              I've been thinking about doing something different as a volunteer, too.  I'm a librarian, and I'm sure there are plenty of local libraries that would like the free help--and they certainly need it.  But I've had enough of library work, frankly.  I'd rather have a change of scene.  I've still got a few years to go before retirement.
                • Re: Art Docent
                  Juliann

                  Mark,

                  The end on next month, I begin training to be an Art Docent.  It is for a Museum of Contemporary Art, and the training covers a period of about a year.  It definitely will provide me with a lot of structure in the training process and with the tours, outreach presentations, etc.  I am really looking forward to joining this cadre of volunteers.  My educational background is in teaching, so it should be a good fit for me.

                  Good luck in your search.  Let me know what you come up with.

                  Juliann

                  • Re: Art Docent
                    PghCatLady
                    I just retired last month.  I'm curious - if I really know nothing about libraries (but simply love to read) what kinds of things might I be able to do for a library as a volunteer? 
                      • Re: Art Docent
                        MarkSullivan
                        PghCatLady said...

                             
                                  I just retired last month.  I'm curious - if I really know nothing about libraries (but simply love to read) what kinds of things might I be able to do for a library as a volunteer? 
                             
                                        

                        We've had volunteers with an IT background assist with computer training workshops.  More generally, anyone can be taught how to shelve books.  Right now we have a few volunteers who help pull hold requests and process them: a bit more complicated than shelving, but I don't think those volunteers had prior library experience.  We've also had volunteers who did book repair.  You should contact your local library and see what sort of volunteer program they have.  They can probably use the help!

                          • Re: Art Docent
                            PghCatLady
                            AH - OK!  I do pretty much know the numbering system, etc., so I'd be perfectly happy shelving books.  We have a very nice local library - they just built a new building a couple of years ago, in fact. 

                            Thanks for the info.  If you ever consider volunteering at an animal shelter and want to know what that's like, let me know.  Been doing that for 10 years.
                              • Re: Art Docent
                                M_Davidson

                                I hope you will continue to help the cats, too!

                                Besides the library or art museum, you might also consider volunteering with a historical society or living history site.

                                I was far from retirement when I was laid off two years ago. I'm making do as a part-time proofreader for now. It's a nice break from the stress of corporate communications and grant-writing -- my previous jobs.

                                Because I live in a historic building that was once a silk mill, I decided to volunteer with the local historical society. The people are dedicated and wonderful. I learn a lot from them. I also adore working with my hands for a change. Gardening...helping to paint and sand walls...etc. On occasion, I get the chance to use my creativity and organizational skills. I'm now seeking out lectures/workshops on gardening and "permaculture."

                                Keep in mind that every organization has its own "personality" and style of doing things. So, before you commit to a long volunteer stint, I'd do a test run -- for one day or one event.

                                I've come to believe that  volunteering should be FUN, and you should feel like you are making a meaningful contribution. 

                                When the recession ends, I may have to go find a "real job." But...my volunteer experiences may point me in a new direction.