National Volunteer Week is April 19-25, and regardless of our temporary closure, we want to express our gratitude to our ever-essential volunteers:
Your selfless contributions of time and talent and resources are fundamental to the Museum’s ability to serve its mission… we literally could not do it without you!
As Dalí would say Us ho agraïm del nostre cor!/ Nous vous remercions de tout cœur!/ We thank you from our hearts!
Meet just a few of the many selfless people who make it all possible
Perseverance is essential in research but patience has its rewards: Seeing several iterations of hairstyle and color on the same staff member in photos taken years apart is in some cases comic relief for Maura and the five others who have worked on preserving a pictorial history of volunteerism at the Dalí.
After 23 years as a project manager in IT, Maura is the perfect person to spearhead the project. Working from hundreds of pictures in boxes and albums, and a couple thousand on flash drives, the Volunteer Council Historian and her team are identifying activities and attendees photographed as long ago as 1988, aiming to provide digitized access that can be researched by event or by a person’s name on the Dalí’s collection database.
As a docent for four years and a member of the council for 18 months, Maura expects to leave the project when her council term expires in January 2019. She is now designing the process to ensure that the project can continue once the backlog is archived and new pictures are taken at forthcoming events.
Maura is proud of the enormous amount of work that has been completed. The current photo preservation project has taken 300+ hours over the course of 1 1/2 years by five volunteers, mostly working in the library, but also at home. In the future, she thinks her successors will have to do a third of that because identifying people of the present day will be so much easier, and because the process – her process – should become automatic. Future volunteers will be able to keep this process up to date, allowing the Museum to easier access and identify historic photos.
For the last three years, Ken Ford has arrived at The Dalí at 7am for his volunteer shift and is gone before the Museum opens. Working among the plants and trees that are his pride and joy, he can be found in the gardens at least twice weekly, moving plants that have become crowded, weeding, clipping, filling bare spots and whatever else Gardener Gus Vargas asks him to assist with. “Ken is my right hand man,” says Gus. (In addition to Ken, Gus oversees volunteers Cindy and Debbie, but always welcomes more helping hands in the garden.) The garden was designed to be perfect when The Dalí opened in 2011, but natural growth created shade over sun-starved plants and pushed trees into one another. Much of today’s work is clearing paths and restoring proportion. In Ken’s opinion, “We have a phenomenal garden for a phenomenal Museum.”
Ira volunteers one full day every week in the Museum’s library on the second floor. His work requires meticulous attention to detail as he extracts and records information from original sources that will help establish provenance for The Dalí Museum’s collection. The work entails: Extracting information from hundreds of letters about the value, exhibition, press coverage, transfer, etc. of Dalí’s art; organizing files of transparencies and photographs; and cataloging ephemera such as lecture announcements, invitations to gallery shows, press clippings and flyers from across the world.
Ira gives each newly created box and folder an ID number. For example Box 143 folder 10 contains 10 drawings from Dalí’s personal collection 1973-04-10 to 1974-02-13. Letter number .006 is to Mr. Morse from Art in America regarding an article for the December 1957 issue. In both of these cases, as in all of Ira’s body of work, a great deal more detail is included to aid future researchers.
Ira enjoys “making a small contribution to the history of the Museum” and “being involved in an endeavor relating to my bachelor’s degree in art history from Rutgers.” He and his wife live in Clearwater and are the parents of Samantha, a fashion industry buyer.
This ongoing project of vast proportion began several years ago. Ira has worked hundreds of hours over three years beside Librarian Shaina Harkness, emptying 10 or so of the many archival boxes that came with the art, or have been added since. The boxes and original Morse family files are being excavated, organized and documented so that the letters, photographs and ephemera can be cataloged into a valid provenance of The Dalí Museum’s works.
Volunteer at The Museum
Volunteers are an integral part of the success of our Museum operations and programming. Over 400 active volunteers ranging in age from 14 to 90 contribute their time and talents in a variety of ways at the Museum. Students (high school and college) are also welcome to volunteer at The Dalí for approved course credit or scholarship requirements.
When you volunteer at the Museum, your areas of opportunity include guest relations, education, membership, marketing, our garden, and more. Training is provided and volunteers receive special benefits for their service.
The Dalí seeks volunteers from all backgrounds. A background in art is not required for most volunteer opportunities.
To get started, please submit the form below or sign up by mail, download and send our volunteer form (PDF). If you have any questions call 727.623.4731, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or stop by the Volunteer Office at the Museum.