Meet Crystal Bridges volunteer, A.J. Atwood
Career Information (Past, Present or Future)
Currently – happily retired and enjoying it. I was an educator for 26 years with the Orange County Public Schools, Orange County, Florida, where I taught high school American Government and American History.
My main hobby/interest/passion is genealogy. I have traced my family tree back over 400 years, including early settlers of Jamestown and several patriots who fought in the American Revolution. I am an avid reader of both fiction and non-fiction, and I also enjoy jigsaw puzzles – anything with a Coca-Cola theme is my favorite.
Favorite artwork or space at the Museum
As a former American Government teacher, I really enjoyed Shaking Hands and Kissing Babies. I loved the memorabilia displayed. In the permanent collection, I really enjoy Enassamishhinjijweian, by Tom Uttech. I also enjoy the areas created in which to sit and reflect.
How did you learn about the Museum and what prompted you to get involved?
After moving to NWA, I heard much about Crystal Bridges. My first visit wowed me. I could not believe something so amazing was right in my “backyard.” Knowing I wanted to do some type of volunteering and I wanted it to be uplifting and fun, I thought Crystal Bridges was the perfect place for me.
In what ways have you been involved as a volunteer with the Museum thus far?
My main involvement is in the main lobby as a Museum Guide. It is what I really wanted to do when I looked at all the volunteer opportunities and what I most love doing.
What keep you coming back to volunteer?
As a Museum Guide, I have the great pleasure of meeting people from not only every state in the union, but numerous foreign countries. Just watching their excitement visiting the museum is a joy to behold.
What do you enjoy most about your volunteer experience?
I absolutely love greeting our guests! I especially enjoy talking with our first-time guests. Their enthusiasm about visiting the museum is infectious. I have also met and worked with some amazing volunteers and staff.
What have you learned or how have you been personally affected from your experience with the Museum?
Art is a bridge that connects us all, no matter our age, ethnic background, or economic status. It ties us together. Nowhere does this point come home more than working in the main lobby.
Anything else you would like to share?
I have been volunteering for over a year and a half. In that time I have had the privilege to know many amazing people who are volunteers like me or who are employees of the museum. A great big thank you to all who have made me not only feel welcome but feel at home!
Do you have any advice for individuals considering volunteering with Crystal Bridges?
My advice to anyone considering volunteering is JUST DO IT!! You will not regret it!