Meet Crystal Bridges Volunteer Carla Weber!
Career Information (Past or Present)
I taught at a private girls’ school, was owner/manager of some real estate, and worked for a steamship company at the Port of New Orleans, among other things; but my best job has been being a homemaker for my husband and daughter.
Travel: For three years we lived in Yugoslavia, a great jumping-off point for eastern and southern Europe. Nowadays, I’m concentrating on our own wonderful country. And wasn’t viewing Picturing the Americas a great way to travel?
Gardening: Dear Cody George still hasn’t gotten me to switch over mainly to native plants, but I would not miss one of his Discover the Grounds programs!
Favorite space at the museum
The Bachman-Wilson House by Frank Lloyd Wright. It is a homemaker’s delight.
How did you learn about the museum and what prompted you to get involved?
When we moved to Bentonville in 2007, our real estate agent enthusiastically told me about the museum-to-be. More recently, a friend who is a Crystal Bridges staff member told me that trainees for the Bachman-Wilson House were needed.
In what ways have you been involved as a volunteer with the museum thus far?
First, I was a guide for group Familiarization tours. That was an early form of the current Big Picture tours. Then I became a Public Programs greeter/ticket taker. The bonus for me is the program afterwards. Now I am also a Bachman-Wilson House guide—a fabulous experience, from the prep course at the beginning to the interaction with guests now.
What keeps you coming back to volunteer?
There are always new things—new exhibitions, lectures, films, performances—happening at the museum and new volunteer opportunities connected with them.
What do you enjoy most about your volunteer experience?
What have you learned or how have you been personally affected through your experience with the museum?
Concentrating on a single architect—the most famous American architect—has been stimulating. In preparation for leading tours of the Bachman-Wilson House, we were introduced to contrasting styles of guiding: straight lecture vs. conversational engagement. It was eye-opening.
Do you have a funny or inspirational story you can tell about your volunteer experience?
One way that Frank Lloyd Wright opened his houses up to the out-of-doors was to make the glass in his windows meet without interruption at the corners of the building. The two pieces of glass butt directly up against each other to make the joint. A mother and her little boy of about three were on my tour not long ago. She held him in her arms most of the time, and all of the time he was perfectly quiet and very attentive. At the end, I told them how I admired what a good listener he had been. The mother replied, “You had him when you talked about the butt joints!” You never know when you have struck a chord with someone!
Anything else you would like to share?
Frank Lloyd Wright said about one of his Usonian houses that he wanted to create the impression of “a happy, cloudless day.” In his designs at Florida Southern College he wanted to show “Florida at its floral best” and put colored glass rectangles (to me, the flowers) in the buildings’ walls. How nice, I think, that he was so forthright about his high aims! There’s so much to learn as a Crystal Bridges volunteer!
Do you have any advice for individuals considering volunteering with Crystal Bridges?
Pick the right job for you, and it will enrich your life.