Meet Crystal Bridges volunteer Gary Martineck!
The first half of my career was in sales, sales administration, and sales management of automotive parts. The second half was in manufacturing management specializing in “Lean Manufacturing.” This brought my wife, Bonnie, and I to Northwest Arkansas where I was the plant manager at Kennametal in Rogers. They manufacture tungsten carbide tooling for all types of industries.
Since retiring, most of my time has been spent traveling, playing golf, reading, volunteering at Crystal Bridges, and enjoying Loch Lomond Lake in Bella Vista. Our trips have taken us to over half of the National Parks and to Croatia and Scotland to explore my genealogical roots in those countries. Everywhere we go, we try to utilize one of the Crystal Bridges Membership benefits of reciprocal free entry to other museums. The most unique museum so far has been the “Museum of Broken Relationships” in Zagreb, Croatia.
Favorite artwork or space at the Museum
My favorite space is the Bachman-Wilson House – every visit brings something new. As far as artwork, I lean toward the works of Thomas Hart Benton, George Bellows, Thomas Eakins, and all the Wyeths. The exhibition of Depression Era prints and photography was one of my favorites. My latest fascination is with Gari Melchers’s The Embroideress.
How did you learn about the Museum and what prompted you to get involved?
I first heard of the plans for Crystal Bridges in 2009 during a presentation to the Rogers-Lowell Chamber of Commerce. The opening in 2011 coincided with my retirement and I was looking for a worthwhile place to volunteer my time.
In what ways have you been involved as a volunteer with the Museum thus far?
I began my volunteering prior to the opening and assisted with the initial setup and stocking of the Museum Store. I continue to work there, and also as a Library Guide and Tour Guide at the Bachman-Wilson House. Prior to the opening of the Bachman-Wilson House I also assisted at the front desk distributing audio guides.
What keep you coming back to volunteer?
There is always something new and exciting happening at the Museum whether it be new works of art, new exhibitions, or additions to the grounds. The key part is being part of something that is contributing to the education and enjoyment of our visitors.
What do you enjoy most about your volunteer experience?
The interaction with our visitors is the most rewarding. The ability to share their experience and their stories and reactions never grows old. The dedication of the staff and their knack for making both visitors and volunteers feel welcome is unsurpassed, especially when compared to many other museums I’ve visited.
What have you learned or how have you been personally affected from your experience with the Museum?
The training I’ve received in many different areas has increased my knowledge of many types of art that I’ve discounted in the past. My new insights into Frank Lloyd Wright and his designs has expanded my love for his work. Most importantly, I’ve seen how art, nature, and architecture can affect the great diversity of people that visit Crystal Bridges.
Do you have a funny or inspirational story you can share with us?
There are many visitors who love to share their stories of how certain works or the Bachman Wilson House bring back family memories. The amazing part of Crystal Bridges is that there is something for everyone and they know we have something special right here in Northwest Arkansas.
Do you have any advice for individuals considering volunteering with Crystal Bridges?
Volunteering at Crystal Bridges is a constant learning experience for young and old. It’s also a great way to give back to the community and to help the museum improve the lives of all that visit.
There are volunteer opportunities for many of your interests and the scheduling is entirely open to fit whatever time you may have available. It’s rewarding. It’s fun. It’s educational. Talk to any of the volunteers and you’ll see why we’re here as often as we can make it.