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MFAH Volunteer Leadership Group, the Guild, Celebrates 30th Anniversary with Exhibition

HOUSTON, TX In honor of the 30th anniversary of the Guild, the museum´s volunteer leadership group of over 500 members, the museum is presenting an exhibition that highlights the Guild´s history of service, as well as hosting a number of events throughout the spring to honor Guild members and National Volunteer Week (April 19-25). The Guild supports and fosters interest in the MFAH through volunteerism and provides educational and social opportunities for its members.

"The support of the Guild is integral to the museum´s operations," said MFAH Volunteer Services Director Joi Maria Probus. "It takes approximately 500 employees, and twice as many volunteers, to manage museum activities, and the Guild provides invaluable leadership to those volunteers. With this anniversary year, the museum would like to seize the opportunity to thank each and every one of the diverse individuals who support us."

On view through June 14, 2009 in the Audrey Jones Beck Building, The Guild of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston: Thirty Years of Exemplary Volunteer Service is an illustrated timeline grouped into 10-year increments from 1979 to 2009. The text and images in the exhibition allows visitors to explore the history of volunteering at the MFAH. The exhibition highlights the Guild´s history of service to the museum, and honors the thousands of Guild members who have helped make the MFAH a vital part of the Houston community by giving generously of their time, energy, and resources since 1979.

In conjunction with celebrating the Guild´s 30th anniversary, the MFAH also recognizes National Volunteer Week, held this year April 19-25. National Volunteer Week has been celebrated since the 1970s "to honor and recognize individuals who make a difference in our communities, and alert others to the need for more voluntary community service to help solve our nation´s serious social problems." The MFAH will celebrate National Volunteer Week Fridays in April with Best of the MFAH: Celebrating 30 Years of the Guild drop-in tours.

In 1979 the Associates was organized to formalize the participation and leadership of volunteers on the MFAH campus. In 1985 the Associates changed their name to The Guild, Volunteers of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. In accordance with their newly revised mission statement, the Guild "supports and fosters interest in the museum through volunteerism and provides educational and social opportunities for its members." The leadership and support of the Guild has played an integral part in the museum´s successful volunteer program. Today it takes over 1,100 volunteers annually to support the activities, programs, and behind-the-scenes projects of the MFAH. For the past 30 years, hundreds of those volunteers have been members of the Guild, which helps organize, support, and manage many of the varied volunteer activities at the museum, Glassell School, Bayou Bend, and Rienzi. In 1998, the Guild was recognized on the donor wall for contributing over 5 million volunteer hours since 1990, the equivalent of over $7.5 million given to the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.

Today, the Guild has over 500 members. Annual Guild memberships start at $40, and members receive special benefits such as exclusive lectures, private exhibition viewings, trips, and social events throughout the year. All MFAH volunteers have the option of joining the Guild.

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