PULLMAN – Sally Horton, a resident of Pullman since 1983, and a retired associate dean of WSU Extension, is not one to let the grass grow beneath her feet.
Horton currently works part-time at WSU Distance Degree Programs, is on the organizing committee for the new WSU Emeritus Society, plays trombone in the Pullman Community Band and is a dedicated volunteer docent for the Museum of Art/WSU.
“I really enjoy keeping busy and I really enjoy art,” she said. “Being a docent is an opportunity to help other people enjoy art too. I’m not an expert, but I can share interesting bits of information and help others really look at the work in ways they might not otherwise.”
Horton is not only responsible for leading tours she also manages regular docent meetings and is the coordinator of schedules of docents for conducting tours.
“Sometimes we are very busy and there may be several tours in a week, so it takes a bit of maneuvering to cover all the times without overloading any one person,” she said.
Museum of Art/WSU Associate Director, Anna-Maria Shannon
said the tours often become overwhelming in the fall while “funding for the Buy-a-Busload-of-Kids program is readily available.
“Schools from all around the area really get on board so to speak,” Shannon said. “We’ve had as many as 15 tours in a week but we’ve never had to turn people away, because our incredible docents jump in along with staff, to accommodate everyone. We all relish the opportunity to support our visitors, but our docents really love it.”
Horton said the most rewarding part of being a docent, is interacting with children in the museum.
“As a docent I can help them get the most out of it,” Horton explained. “I get a kick out of watching their excitement at seeing art for the first time. The older students are often too apathetic to show much enthusiasm, but the young ones get really jazzed! Being part of the museum and getting to interact with everyone there is also great.”
When asked if she has any amusing or special stories from her time there, her eyes light up and she cracks a wide smile. She said her favorite story took place when a class of elementary school students were viewing, “Art & Context: the 1950s and 60s”, last year at the museum.
“They were crowded around the Donald Judd piece, a shiny metal, open-ended box with a beautiful deep purple glass lining,” she said. “Everyone was very impressed, and afterwards I asked if they liked the piece. Everyone was nodding yes in obvious agreement, except one boy who was frowning and slowly shaking his head. I asked him why he didn’t like it, and still shaking his head he said ‘Husky color.’ Just shows we all see art differently!”
The Museum of Art/WSU is looking for reliable volunteers to help expand the Docent Program in 2008. No experience is necessary. For more information regarding becoming a docent or scheduling a docent tour of the museum and/or the outdoor campus art collection, contact the museum at (509) 335 -1910.