With the advent of MIA’s new blog, I began to reminisce over my time here – it has now been almost 2 years to the day since I began volunteering at MIA’s Front Desk. I think the saying goes “times flies…”? Our volunteer base has flourished – with some having been here for longer than I have – and many have completed an incredible 250 hours during their time here!
I love working at MIA – the location can’t be beat, overlooking Toronto’s Harbourfront with prime viewing of Toronto’s Islands really is spectacular. My favourite part of my job, however, is working with volunteers. I have been the Volunteer Coordinator at MIA for a year and a half and in that time have hired so many wonderful people. I have the opportunity to work with people of all ages, from all different parts of the world, each with a unique story to tell. It got me thinking – wouldn’t it be nice for those of you reading the blog to know how our volunteers feel about MIA? What makes MIA such a great place to volunteer?
So Alysa (our Education Coordinator, and the genius behind this blog!) and I sent out an email to all of our volunteers and received many eager replies. Without further ado, here are the voices from some of MIA’s volunteers!
Posted by Annika Lauffer, MIA’s Operations Manager
I have always loved Inuit art and have a collection of my own. Volunteering at MIA allows me to be a part of the art scene, and to spread the word about what an incredible art form this is. I love to hear visitors’ ‘oooohs and ahhhs’ when they enter MIA, and how happy they are to have experienced it! I’ve had the chance to meet artists such as Jimmy Manning, Kenojuak Ashevak, David Ruben, and Abraham Anghik Ruben… these artists who are so humble, and so incredibly talented. Over four years I’ve met countless fantastic volunteers and staff, people who really have made my weekly shifts that much more enjoyable. – Bruce R. (MIA volunteer since June 2007)
My favourite things about the museum are the dancing bear sculptures, and the dancing walrus sculptures. I also like the location of the museum since it is near the Harbourfront area! I have an art degree, and appreciate being surrounded by art in a museum environment rather than working in an office. Also, since English is not my first language, it gives me the chance to practice English with friendly museum visitors and staff. - Juliana M. (MIA volunteer since February 2011)
The staff and volunteers are incredibly friendly and I am always excited to volunteer here. I actually look forward to coming in, and I am enthusiastic when I am here. I will say this is the best place I’ve volunteered at, and I have volunteered for A LOT of places! – Jessica T. (MIA volunteer since June 2010)
I really like the pink alabaster sculpture, “Mask” by Dolfus Cadieux and the tiny dancing bears by Mosesie Pootoogook. I really enjoy learning more about Inuit art and culture, and the opportunity to meet all of the interesting people who come to visit the museum. I had a very funny experience when two men came into the museum today and offered to sing me a song, and I was regaled with a few verses of Alouette! – Kate M. (MIA volunteer since January 2011)
One of the things I love most about volunteering at MIA is the many interesting people I have met – whether it be visitors who are passionate or curious about Inuit art, or the volunteers who all have such diverse and interesting backgrounds or the staff at MIA that make it such a pleasant place to work. – Jessica C. (MIA volunteer since February 2010)
My most fave thing about MIA is being surrounded by the actual beauty of the pieces themselves during the hours I am here. It’s an actual pleasure soaking in the quiet timelessness of the ‘stories’ and experiences captured by the various artists showcased in the museum- just in the way that art speaks to us, by-passing our logical mind. What is kind of funny to me is the irony of the ‘Do Not Touch’ signs. While the reason behind them is respected; to preserve the pieces, the tactile beauty of the sculptures with their diverse textures and grains and relief, especially lit in the spotlight the way they are almost beckons the viewer to touch…. It doesn’t help that one of the whalebone sculptures in the lobby has actual hands carved into them….about my size as well! – Kim C. (MIA volunteer since February, 2011)
Interested in volunteering yourself? Click here!