The Museum of Inuit Art has an amazing team of over 30 volunteers that offer their time and expertise to support many areas of our operations—public programs, visitor services, website development, collections management, and marketing to name a few. In 2013 our volunteers contributed nearly 4,888 hours to our organization. That is the equivalent of the hours worked by 2.5 full-time staff members in a given year! We are truly grateful for their support. Throughout National Volunteer Appreciation Week will be celebrating the contributions of our amazing volunteer team during 2013.
We have such a fantastic team here at the museum, it is hard to capture all the wonderful people involved but we’ve selected a few of our current and past volunteers in a variety of roles to speak about their experience being a part of the MIA family!
Frederico Oliveira began volunteering with us in 2011 on our front desk. Throughout the two years that he volunteered with the museum, Frederico made the most of his volunteer experience, taking on additional roles as a docent and a member of our Volunteer Committee. During his time at MIA he also assisted at special events, such as the MIA Gallery’s Collectors Night events. He would help with the set-up of these events, welcome event attendees, and take photographs throughout the evening. Frederico also had the opportunity to interact with Inuit artists who came to the Museum to explain their artwork and process to the general public. Frederico left us at the end of 2012 to go teach at Lakehead University. That being said, he always keeps in touch and has come back to volunteer a few days since then. We are very proud of Frederico’s accomplishments and we are happy that he continues to be a part of the MIA family!
Here is how Frederico describes her experience with the museum:
Why did you decide to volunteer with the Museum of Inuit Art?
Because I work with Aboriginal peoples in Brazil, First Nations in Canada and would like know better about the Inuit.
Describe your experience during your time with MIA.
I started as a front desk assistant, greeting the visitors, making small sales and getting to know more about the Inuit history and culture. When I knew about the docent program, I was really excited, because I could understand more about the processes and techniques of art production, the different regions of the Arctic and its different themes. So, I became a docent and one of the volunteer committee coordinators because I also wanted to engage the visitors and be part of the educational program.
What was the most memorable or rewarding moment that you had while volunteering with the museum?
I can’t recall one particular moment, but I really enjoyed giving tours to the kids, especially the moment when I had to explain the spiritual world, talking the connection between the shaman and spirits of the animals, Sedna and how this relationships are so important for the Inuit.
What have you learned from your experience with the museum?
That Aboriginal peoples in Canada need spaces like the Museum of Inuit Art to help educate the general public and eliminate prejudice and many forms of misunderstanding about their culture in the past and in the present.
What are you doing now?
I am assistant professor of the Department of Anthropology at Lakehead University in Thunder Bay.
- Posted by: Brittany Holliss, MIA’s Digital Assets Coordinator