Hunt Museum Docent Programme – Pictured are some of the voluntary docents of the Hunt Museum, Limerick. Picture: Orla McLaughlin/ilovelimerick.
Become a Volunteer at the Hunt Museum and Join the Docent Programme
By I Love Limerick Correspondent Sinead Fitzgibbon
If you are interested in art and history and have some free time, the Hunt Museum would be delighted to invite you to join the Docent Programme. Docents are the front line ambassadors of the museum and are active members of the community, who volunteer their time to engage visitors in learning primarily about the museum’s Collection.
Mairead Donlevy, one of the first directors/curators of the museum, started the Docent programme at the Hunt Museum. Mairead took the idea from museums doing it in the USA. The word docent means teaching from the Latin language. Docents are volunteer teachers and learners. The Hunt Museum Docents are a dynamic and motivated group and host lunchtime talks and highlighters to the public about the Hunt Museum’s three main collections – the John & Gertrude Hunt Collection, the Irish Contemporary Ceramics Collection and the Sybil Connolly Collection.
The Original Collection includes pieces from Greco- Roman to Medieval Times. The Modern Ceramics Collection is partially supplied by a ceramics exhibition every year and lastly, the Sybil Connolly Collection. Sybil was an Irish designer in the 50s and 60s. She designed clothes for many well-known people such as Jackie Kennedy. Sybil would export Irish materials, including handkerchief linens, all around the world.
Jill Cousins, Hunt Museum Director, told ilovelimerick, “We have an amazing docent programme at the Hunt Museum. We want to encourage more people to become a docent, and volunteer in the museum. As a docent, you learn about the objects, take tours and workshops, undertake research, write blogs, and inform people but you are also a part of a group of people who support and make the Hunt Museum function the way it does.”
The Docent Programme is a great way to meet a new group of people with similar interests and it is very rewarding. The Docents get involved in many activities including the Dementia outreach programme, the Kids arts and crafts programme and School Tours. Moira Dwyer, one of the Volunteer Docents, spoke about the Dementia Outreach Programme: “My particular favourite activity is the dementia programme, where we visit nursing homes and dementia villages with replicas of the collections. It is wonderful work and very rewarding.”
The Docents also invigilate at exhibitions held at the Hunt Museum, for example, the Lavery & Osborne: Observing Life exhibition. The exhibition will be on display at The Hunt Museum until Monday, 30 September 2019. A total of sixty-two pieces are currently exhibited featuring Irish artists, Sir John Lavery and Walter Frederick Osborne, both born in the mid-nineteenth century.
You are sure to fall in love with the Hunt Museum Collection and you also might find a new interest and passion. Margaret Walsh, Volunteer Docent found her passion, “I became a volunteer because I fell in love with the ceramics in the Hunt collection back in 1995. I loved ceramics so much that I went on to do a degree in Ceramics in LSAD. I used the objects in the Hunt collection as inspiration for my own work. There is an immense amount of things to do and to fall in love with as a docent. I hope you will volunteer and come pay us a visit at the Hunt Museum.”
The Docent programme enables these people to become experts in different things, including their own specific interests. For example, they get the opportunity to write blogs about what they are learning. These blogs can be found on the museum website.
Jill concluded, “Without the docents, this museum would not be as good as it is. We very much encourage new people to come in and become volunteers for the museum and help us make it work even better.”
What are you waiting for? To get involved in the Docent Programme contact Joni Roche, Volunteer Coordinator on 061 490083 / 061 312833 or email [email protected]
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