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Volunteer Spotlight: Constance Alderfer

Meet Crystal Bridges Volunteer Constance Alderfer!

Career Information

After a very brief stint as a teacher of high school English, I got into real estate sales and management. Eventually, I became an owner of two real estate firms–one in St. Louis and the second in Homer, Alaska.

Hobbies/Activities/Interests

I am an avid gardener and active student of art history. I paint, although my work will probably not hang in Crystal Bridges. I love travel and long-distance hiking around the world. I have enjoyed volunteering as an English as a second language teacher e and through Community Foundation board work.

Favorite artwork or space at the museum?

My favorite works include Nari Ward’s We The People, James McNeill Whistler’s Chelsea Girl, Dennis Miller Bunker’s Wild Asters, Agnes Martin’s Untitled #7 and Jean-Michel Basquiat’s Untitled.

“We the People” by Nari Ward

How did you learn about the museum and what prompted you to get involved?

I learned about the museum when I came to visit my daughter who had recently moved to Bentonville. Crystal Bridges was a major factor in my decision to relocate here. I was thrilled with the educational opportunities available through the museum and sensed that it was a welcoming place for people like me who really wanted to become involved in a vibrant community.

In what ways have you been involved as a volunteer with the museum thus far?

I am grateful to have joined the Gallery Guide program in February of 2017. I also enjoy working as an Avant Gardener and a Library Guide.

What keeps you coming back to volunteer?

The feeling that, although I am retired, I am still doing something important for other people, for my community, and for myself.

What do you enjoy most about your volunteer experience?

It’s a three-way tie: the fantastic friendships that I’ve formed with other volunteers and staff, the great learning opportunities, and interacting with our delightful guests who visit from around the world.

What have you learned or how have you been personally affected from your experience with the museum?

I have learned how social history is told through art, how creative ideas change but are interconnected one generation to the next, and how deeply individual creative energy is.  I’ve also learned how to prune shrubs and trees and how to identify them from the bark!

Do you have a funny or inspirational story you can briefly tell about your volunteer experience? Please share with us!

One time while conducting a tour, I was gobsmacked when one guest suggested that Professor Rand was probably getting ready to dissect the black cat in his portrait by Thomas Eakins.

Anything else you would like to share?

I love the software used to schedule our volunteer commitments and the staffing team who make our volunteer experiences so pleasurable, right down to stocking our very favorite snacks in the volunteer lounge.

Do you have any advice for individuals considering volunteering with Crystal Bridges?

This museum, while being very professionally run, side-steps the curse of being intimidating and arrogant. You will be treated respectfully and your contribution will be deeply appreciated by guests and staff. You will be able to work in areas that especially interest you and that utilize your special talents.

Learn more about becoming a Crystal Bridges Volunteer here!

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