Volunteers’ 40 Year Service

Filed under News ~ by Press on  25 Jul 2012
Newcastle Art Gallery Volunteer Guides 40th anniversary

23 July 2012 ~ Newcastle Art Gallery was one of the first galleries in Australia to offer visitors free guided tours.

Gallery Volunteer Guides, founded in 1972, were described as a “revolutionary step” to promote more interest in art and provide service to the community.

Newcastle Art Gallery Society magazine, Artemis (Jan–Feb 1972) stated the aim of guiding was to “. . . awaken curiosity, widen horizons and above all stimulate an appetite for a return visit”.

Before Newcastle Art Gallery opened, tours of the permanent collection and exhibitions were conducted in the War Memorial Cultural Centre (now the Newcastle City Library) where the Gallery was established in 1957.

In 1977 Newcastle Art Gallery was opened by HM Queen Elizabeth II – the first modern purpose-built regional Gallery in Australia.

Gallery Volunteer Guides undertake six week intensive training with ongoing training and regular peer assessment to ensure quality delivery. They work closely with Gallery staff, artists, and other art experts in preparation for each new exhibition, aiming at new ways of looking at and appreciating art, through questions, encouraging discussion, and putting art into historical context.

No tour is ever the same. This is both the challenge and joy of guiding. Each guide brings knowledge, insights and anecdotes to their tour that makes every one a unique experience for the public” says Georgie Plenty, Guide Coordinator, Newcastle Art Gallery.

The contribution of the Gallery’s Volunteer Guides can never be underestimated. They perform a much loved and important service to the community, giving hundreds of hours of their own time but they also bring a personality to the Gallery experience for a person visiting that is priceless.

They are great colleagues, supporters and friends of not just the Gallery but the arts in Newcastle.”  said Gallery Director Ron Ramsey.

Newcastle Art Gallery honoured the Volunteer Guides’ 40th Anniversary today with special guest Sharon Grierson MP, Federal Member for Newcastle, and Lady Mayoress of Newcastle, Cathy Tate.

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