As I write this column, the President’s Summit on America’s Future is about to take place in Philadelphia. This Summit puts a national spotlight on the crucial role that volunteerism plays in our lives and the need to bolster such efforts throughout our communities. Closer to borne, it reminds us how important volunteers are to the successful operation of our complex institutions. Approximately 300 volunteers help the Museum fulfill its multifaceted mission. From members of the Board of Overseers and the Women’s Committee to the Volunteer Guides and the Mobile Guides to those who volunteer in the sections and assist at our special events; from those who work a few hours a week to those who contribute thirty-five hours a week; from those who bring Museum materials to classes throughout the city to those who work in the casting room—our volunteers perform a wide variety of crucial tasks. To put it simply, we could not do what we do so successfully without our volunteers.
As Mayor Ed Rendell of Philadelphia recently told the Volunteer Guides at their biennial fund-raiser, the most important reward for volunteering comes in the heart. To hear a Volunteer Guide enthusiastically discuss how wonderfully responsive the school group was that she had just led through a gallery is to see the tangible results that volunteers can achieve and the rewards that they receive. While not every part of the volunteer experience is as stimulating as this, even the mundane or difficult experience can have positive outcomes.
The dedication that our volunteers exhibit and their love for archaeology, anthropology, and the University of Pennsylvania Museum are terrific. As our national consciousness is raised about the necessity for volunteer efforts in our communities, especially in regard to working with and helping children, it is appropriate to remember and salute our own volunteers. They have our deep gratitude?
Jeremy A. Sabloff
The Charles K. Williams II Director