Volunteer Voices with Cathy Becker

In early 2019 I took my second retirement: 30 years of teaching and over 20 years at Camp Wise. I have always been a reader and a student of history, and I was looking for a meaningful volunteer opportunity. Combining my teaching experience and history background, I decided to investigate The Maltz Museum and completed the July docent training.

I was wowed by the people I met and the variety of programming offered, and a little intimidated by the thought of leading a tour. It took me several months to decide to implement what I had learned. The Museum staff was unbelievably supportive and encouraging. They even walked with me as I planned my initial tours. I was able to shadow tours and begin to think about what I could bring to students visiting The Maltz. I did my first tours with more seasoned docents and tested my voice. I was very nervous but I jumped in and volunteered to do tours of Leonard Bernstein, the Power of Music. The best part of that was the knowledge I gained and the diversity of my groups: from students to seniors, to church groups to friends.

Since then I have shifted to student tours on Stop the Hate and The Holocaust. I am still adjusting tours so that I can cover the material within the one hour time frame and allow time for questions. I have been impressed with the students’ prior knowledge and their willingness to share where they have experienced injustice in their own lives. Most have been amazed by the artifacts in the collection and their connection to Cleveland.

The Maltz offers volunteers a multitude of volunteer opportunities. I have helped with the gift shop, led drop-in tours of both the permanent collection and The Temple gallery, and participated in the President’s Day activities. There seem to be many opportunities for volunteers to choose from and to decide how much involvement they want.

I am not sure if I found The Maltz Museum or if the museum found me! We seem to be a great match!

To become a volunteer docent, please contact Aaron Bane at wbane@mmjh.org


Maltz Museum