Did you know that there are some 400 volunteers who donate their time to Crystal Bridges? It’s true. Volunteers serve in a host of capacities in the Museum: greeting and directing guests as they enter, helping with school groups, leading tours, assisting guests in the Library, stocking shelves and preparing incoming merchandise for the Museum Store, helping out with special events… the list is long. I’m not exaggerating when I say that we couldn’t do it without the help of these dedicated individuals. They are a fascinating and diverse group, with a wealth of expertise and experience to bring to their duties at the Museum. We thought we’d begin introducing some of them to you through the blog.
First up: Lou Adler. Lou has been a volunteer since May of 2013. He volunteers in the Library, both as a Guide and behind the scenes organizing the stacks. He lives in Bella Vista with his wife Evelyn , who is also a Crystal Bridges volunteer.
Career Information I spent 35 years in the field of information systems and automation in the pulp and paper industry, rising from a control engineer to Operations Manager for a multi-million-dollar company. Because I traveled globally, I had the chance to visit a number of art museums in Europe and Scandinavia. After retiring and moving to NW Arkansas, I taught graduate courses in the University of Arkansas’ Operations Management Department in Fayetteville for four years. Then I retired for the second and last time.
Hobbies/Activities/Interests My primary interests are traveling, spoiling my grandchildren, and volunteering at Crystal Bridges. My hobby is model railroading, which includes: construction of cars, locomotives, buildings, and scenery; researching railroad history; and operating my train layout in the same way as was done in the mid-1950s. My main avocation is improving a highly suspect golf game.
Favorite artwork or space at the Museum The Hudson River School grouping in the Colonial and Early Nineteenth Century Gallery is my preferred space in Crystal Bridges. Favorite artists are Worthington Whittredge and Martin Johnson Heade. Whittredge’s Twilight on the Plains is a favorite painting. I am fascinated by Heade’s landscape and hummingbird paintings. It is amazing that he could be so talented in painting two very different subjects.
How did you learn about the Museum and what prompted you to get involved? I learned about Crystal Bridges during an initial visit to NW Arkansas in 2006. Knowing that the Museum was coming was a major consideration in deciding to move to Bella Vista.
In what ways have you been involved as a volunteer with the Museum thus far? As a volunteer, I work exclusively in the Library. I would like to broaden my volunteer assignments, but a heavy travel schedule keeps getting in the way of my interests in positions that require extensive training.
What do you enjoy most about your volunteer experience? I enjoy working with visitors and learning more about art history, which is facilitated by volunteering in the library. A very rewarding experience is assisting visitors in obtaining information from the Internet and identifying specific reference books at local libraries.
What have you learned or how have you been personally affected from your experience with the Museum? I have broadened my overall exposure to art beyond many visits to art museums worldwide. I particularly enjoyed the art curator talks on each gallery that occurred during the first two years of the Museum. I am even starting to appreciate Modern art!