Tag Archives: volunteers

Volunteer Appreciation Week: Belinda P.

12 Apr

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!


 

Belinda P.

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Belinda Piercy is our longest serving volunteer. She began with us back in 2011 as a front desk volunteer and eventually completed the docent training program. She now gives tours to school groups and the general public on a regular basis. Belinda not only fulfills the requirements of the docent role here at the museum. We view Belinda as a leader amongst our volunteers and she has played an integral part in making our volunteer program bigger and better at MIA! 

Why did you decide to volunteer with the Museum of Inuit Art?

As a philosophy graduate student who writes about art and beauty, the Museum sounded like the perfect fit when I decided to get out into the community and start volunteering. It was!

Describe your experience so far with MIA.

My experience at MIA has been a continual process of falling in love with different artworks and artists, and the vision of the Museum itself. I started off as a front desk representative and took the opportunity to learn more about the Museum’s collection by becoming a docent. Deciding to get more involved has always rewarded me with a richer appreciation for the complexities and achievements of the works on display.

What was the most memorable or rewarding moment that you have had while volunteering with the museum?

I have had many memorable moments with both visitors and artworks. A favourite visitor encounter was the day I encouraged a woman who thought she knew our collection well to come in and take a look at a visiting exhibition. We spent the next half hour engaged in a lively exploration of different works and the reflections on life they gave rise to. One of my favourite moments with an artwork was discovering the faint face on a minimalist sculpture of a bird by George Tataniq.  The small incised eyes are so light you need to look closely to see them and for a long time I brushed by the work too quickly to notice. As soon as I saw the under stated yet compelling personality added by that feature, I fell in love.

What have you learned from your experience with the museum thus far?

I have learned that much like getting to know a person, it takes time hanging out with artworks to get to see their different sides, and listen to the different questions they might ask. I don’t always know how to answer those questions, but I have really appreciated the opportunity the Museum has given me to return to things I didn’t notice at first and learn to see them again in new ways.

What are you doing now?

I am still a graduate student, working on my PhD in philosophy at the University of Toronto. I hope to finish that within the next year, and then my life will change. I hope volunteering at the Museum will still be a part of it, I know there is much more for me to discover here.


 

If you are interested in learning more about our docent training program, visit our website. We are always looking for people to join our team!

-Posted by: Brittany Holliss, MIA’s Digital Assets Coordinator

Volunteer Appreciation Week: Lada S.

11 Apr

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!


Lada S.

LadaLada Skender-Micic started volunteering with us 2012 as a front desk volunteer. She has since completed the docent training program here at the museum and now gives tours to the public and school groups on a regular basis. Lada brings an undeniable passion to the museum; anyone that has taken a tour by her can attest to this!

Here is how Lada describes her experience with the museum:

In May 2012, I first came to The Museum of Inuit Art as a visitor and after I had been enchanted straightaway, I decided to start volunteering. I simply felt that I have to be here in the museum, cherishing the art-works that provoke questions.

As my background is in Dramatic Arts, it was natural to start searching the stories behind the art-pieces, not only praising visual impressions. Unveiling the artists’ personal needs to create such vibrant, vivid and enduring pieces, I keep finding  so profound and inspiring.

I feel that my mission is to spread the word that Inuit Art is like a good deed – benevolent, unique and eternal.


If you are interested in learning more about our docent training program, visit our website. We are always looking for people to join our team!

-Posted by: Brittany Holliss, MIA’s Digital Assets Coordinator

National Volunteer Appreciation Week: Frederico O.

7 Apr

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 O.

Frederico now 2

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

National Volunteer Appreciation Week: Laura A.

7 Apr

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 have 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!


Laura A.

Laura

Laura Arngna’naaq began volunteering with us in August 2013 on our front desk. Throughout the sixty-eight hours of service she gave to the museum, Laura was a strong advocate of the museum and promoted our membership program both onsite and offsite. This resulted in her receiving the award for recruiting the most new members during our 2013 membership drive. Laura continues to be involved with the museum as a MIA member and as she helps us build a partnership with the Aboriginal Professional Association of Canada.

Here is how Laura describes her experience with the museum:

Why did you decide to volunteer with the Museum of Inuit Art?

I had been to the Museum of Inuit Art once before with my family and felt that the exhibit was a beautiful and diverse collection of Inuit art.   Because of this when I finished my masters degree and had some free time I thought the museum would be a perfect opportunity to get to know more about Inuit art and enjoy the collection.

Describe your experience during your time with MIA.

Volunteering with Museum was a very rewarding experience.  Although I did see a number of collectors visit the Museum, there were a number of visitors that were genuinely curious about Inuit Art and Culture, so answering their questions and explaining a bit about my heritage was a fun and rewarding experience.

What was the most memorable or rewarding moment that you had while volunteering with the museum?

I would say my most memorable moment that I had while volunteering at the museum was just chatting with the Museum Curator and staff about Inuit art and learning so much just from having a conversation with the passionate and knowledgable staff at the Museum.

What have you learned from your experience with the museum?

Personally, I learned a lot about Inuit art.  Although my grandmother was a print artist herself (and her sewing was an art form in itself! She made the amouti I am wearing the picture) I felt that there was a lot more to learn.  From volunteering I learned a lot about the distinct regional differences in style and art form behind art as well as some of the historical motifs behind it.

What are you doing now?

I am currently working as a Junior Corporate Accountant at Brookfield Office properties and in my spare time volunteering for the Aboriginal Professional Association of Canada and am a Board member of the Native Woman’s Resource Centre of Toronto.

Posted by: Brittany Holliss, MIA’s Digital Assets Coordinator

 

Meet Our Collections Team! Introducing Leah C.

24 Sep
Leah C., MIA Collections Management Volunteer, examines a recently donated drawing for the museums permanent collection.

Leah C., MIA’s Collections Management Volunteer, examines a recently donated drawing for the museums permanent collection.

Continuing our series on our collections audit the museum is undertaking, this week features guest posts from members of the collections team. 

If you are the kind of person who sits down now and then to spend hours updating your iTunes playlist, making sure you have exactly the right album art, band name spelling and track listings for your ultimate playlist then you might have some idea of the what it takes to undertake a collections audit. Each piece in a museum’s collections must be documented and accounted for and this fall I am going to be joining the MIA team as they undertake this project.

So how did I come to join this team and what drew me to museum work in the first place? I spent my formative years visiting every living history museum, gallery and road side historic plaques from Kingston to St. Johns with my family. Those road trips gave me my first taste of what museums had to offer and my interest in the field grew until I had the opportunity in high school to suit up in the blisteringly hot woolly uniform of a British artillery soldier and become a historical interpreter at Fort Henry. Since then I have had the chance to work with the Peterborough Museum and Archives and this past summer I completed an internship in the CBC’s Libraries and Archives working closely with their still photographs collection.

I feel that interacting with a museum artifact is an experience that is completely unique to these kinds of institutions. Working in collections management gives me the chance to do hands-on work with the artifacts that shape each museum visit.  As you might have guessed the collection you see displayed at a museum is only a fraction of what that museum holds and getting the chance to peek behind the curtain to see what else might be waiting in quiet storage rooms and vaults is very exciting to me.  There is something special about getting to know each and every piece, its history and its place in our collection and I can’t wait to find out more as this project moves forward.

So far one of my favourite pieces to accession and catalogue are these two drawings:

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Germaine Arnaktauyok (1946-), “Untitled” (Drum Dancer) c. 1973, Iglulik, paper and felt tip marker, MIA Collection Gift of Mary and James Robert Moorehead.

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Germaine Arnaktauyok (1946-), “Untitled” (A Woman With A Bucket of Water) c. 1973, Iglulik, paper and felt tip marker, MIA Collection Gift of Mary and James Robert Moorehead.

The contrast between the black ink and white paper is really striking, and I can’t stop focusing in on the cross hatch technique the artist used. I hope to come across more by this artist as the project continues!

- Posted by: Leah Cox., MIA’s Collections Management Volunteer

Crafts at MIA

25 May

Everyone at MIA is looking forward to the Doors Open Toronto event at Queens Quay Terminal. MIA’s volunteers are busy preparing for the event in our Education Centre. Inspired by the ivory miniatures and camp scene sculptures in the MIA exhibit, our creative arts assistants are constructing an arctic landscape for a special MIA Kid’s collaborative activity! Kids will have the opportunity to contribute to this project by designing their own arctic animals, snow houses, inuksuks, kayaks, and igloos from modeling clay and paper.

Emily Pangnilik Iluitok’s “Winter Scene: With Dog Sleds and Igloos”, Kugaaruk (Pelly Bay), made from stone, ivory, leather, hide and sinew, from the MIA Collection.

MIA Arts Assistants preparing the arctic landscape and practicing their crafts projects for Doors Open Toronto.

There will be lots to do and see at Toronto’s Harbourfront this weekend, so come on over, get inspired, and add to our Arctic environment! At the end of the DOT weekend, MIA will be sharing pictures of the finished landscape! Check out the excellent creations or show us your creative side and join in – everyone is welcome to add to our collaborative project. Learn more about what MIA is for Door Open Toronto here.

The Museum of Inuit Art offers drawing materials in our Education Centre daily, and crafts led by MIA’s arts assistants are offered every Saturday and Sunday from 12pm-4pm!

Posted By Emma Ward, MIA’s Visitor Services Officer

MIA Celebrates National Volunteer Week

10 Apr

Today is the beginning of National Volunteer Week. We’ve featured some of our volunteer’s voices on our blog before, but all the staff at MIA want to officially and publicly thank all of our dedicated volunteers, both past and present, for their tireless support of the museum.

Over the course of National Volunteer Week, we will be posting features on our volunteers in addition to our regular content. If you want to volunteer at MIA, contact us here!

Posted by: Annika Lauffer, MIA’s Operations Manager

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