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Volunteer Spotlight: Holly Crowe

Career Information
Most of my experience in the workforce is in the legal profession. I started in Oklahoma City, OK working for the District Attorney’s office in 1979 while I was a student at the University of Oklahoma. I worked for two private law firms in Oklahoma City before moving to Northwest Arkansas in 1988. After relocating to this area, I worked for Matthews, Campbell & Rhoads in Lowell and Rogers and then in the Legal Department at Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. as a paralegal.

Hobbies/Activities/Interests
I am not a person who is ever bored! I probably have too many interests and a very long to-do list. A few of those interests include reading books of all types including fiction, biographies, costume and quilt history, and art books. I am also a gardener and I enjoy cooking, but my passion is sewing! I enjoy making quilts and crafts, but my real passion is garment construction. My goal is eventually to make everything I wear.

Favorite artwork or space at the museum
This is a very hard question and I cannot give just one answer! I have always loved the Skyspace and being outdoors on the trails. My favorite artists in the collection are Thomas Hart Benton, Oscar Bluemner, Stuart Davis, Marsden Hartley, and Stanton McDonald-Wright. I love curvilinear lines and bright colors.

James Turrell’s Skyspace, The Way of Color

How did you learn about the museum and what prompted you to get involved?
I do not remember how I initially learned about the museum, but I am sure it was from a number of sources, including the newspaper and word of mouth. I am a lifelong learner and this sounded like a great opportunity to learn more about art.

In what ways have you been involved as a volunteer with the museum thus far?
I have trained to be a Skyspace facilitator, gallery guide, trail guide, architecture guide, and sculpture guide and have offered, and continue to offer, tours in the galleries about pieces of sculpture both inside the museum and on the grounds, and about the architecture of Crystal Bridges and the Bachman-Wilson House.

What keeps you coming back to volunteer?
I have met so many wonderful people through my museum experiences and made new friends as I have volunteered over the past seven years. My fellow guides, the museum staff members, and guests on my tours have all added to my rewarding experiences at Crystal Bridges.

Learning about the art has been priceless and I want to continue to build my knowledge base both through additional ongoing training through the guide programs, through my own personal study, and through fellowship and communication with other guides.

What do you enjoy most about your volunteer experience?
The museum is so beautiful and we are so fortunate to have it here in Northwest Arkansas. I enjoy sharing this wonderful place and my knowledge about it with our many guests who come from far and wide for this experience.

What have you learned or how have you been personally affected from your experience with the museum?
I have been enriched greatly through my training. I was a student at the University of Arkansas majoring in Apparel Merchandising and Product Development simultaneously with my museum guide training and it is amazing to me how portions of each program overlapped, enhanced, and enriched my knowledge in each area. As I look at the colonial period paintings, I find myself examining the details of the clothing worn by the sitters and when I did tours of the folk art exhibition, I was excited to be able to share my knowledge of quilt history with our guests.

Do you have a funny or inspirational story you can briefly tell about your volunteer experience?  Please share with us!
One night I got locked out of the museum as I was doing a Chihuly group tour in the North Forest after the museum had closed. My purse and car keys were in the volunteer lounge so after the group left, I asked security if I could get back in to retrieve them. I was let in the door at the loading dock and told to go back of house to get to the lounge. I really had no idea where I was going! Interestingly enough, as I walked and approached various doors, I heard the locks click to indicate where to enter. I do not know who it was that was guiding me through, but someone was obviously watching and helping me navigate! As if that was not enough, just as I was nearing the finish line to the lounge, the strap on my sandal broke and I had to walk the remainder of the way with only one shoe!

Anything else you would like to share?
The staff at the museum, and particularly in volunteer services and education, have always been quick to express their thanks and appreciation to me as a volunteer. I have always felt appreciated by them and by my guests and that makes coming to the museum very special.

Do you have any advice for individuals considering volunteering with Crystal Bridges?
There are so many ways to volunteer at Crystal Bridges that there will be something that is a great fit for everyone. The volunteer services staff will be happy to help you find the right place to volunteer. Volunteering is a very fulfilling way to spend your time, giving back to the community and museum guests. Whether you spend one hour, one day, or ten days a month at the museum, you will be personally enriched and sincerely appreciated.

Learn more about becoming a Crystal Bridges Volunteer here!



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