For Scarlett Scholte, the pursuit of knowledge has always been a passion. After spending 29 years teaching English and theatre arts in Kwajalein on the Marshall Islands, Scholte began volunteering as a docent to connect her love for learning and performing.
“I lived overseas for 29 years and I taught school. One of my friends lived out there and then when I moved here she was involved in the Museum. She invited me to come down. She said I would want to be a docent because overseas I did historical tours and because I was a teacher of one of her kids she knew that I liked performing,” Scholte said.
After getting involved at the Museum in 2004, Scholte has been an active volunteer ever since. She says that she loves getting an inside look at the exhibitions and being able to work with the staff to share that insight with the community.
“I love doing research and I love being on the inside. The staff here is amazing. Our curatorial staff has made me look at art differently, made me understand art better,” Scholte said.
The daughter of a commercial artist, Scholte says she has been in art museums all over the world, but had never imagined being a docent before being invited by her friend. Now having been a docent over a decade, she says that the experience of both teaching and learning during tours keeps her interested.
“There are pieces that I wouldn’t want to live with or even pieces that I don’t like until I study them. Then I can appreciate them. I find that I even like things that I may not have initially liked. I guess as a docent you kind of try to impart that knowledge so that people walk away thinking ‘I never knew that’. That’s what it does for me and what I want to do for them,” Scholte said.
In addition to the research, Scholte says she enjoys the interaction from the tour groups and being able to learn more with each tour she gives. She says the questions and feedback from guests allow her to do additional research to share in the next tour she gives.
“You get a lot of feedback. There are groups that just ask for me specifically. You like doing them because they come back and do them again and again. I have people that anytime they hear I am doing a tour they show up. It’s very gratifying and they ask good questions and are engaging,” Scholte said.
Having been involved with the Museum for 16 years now, Scholte says she enjoys being able to work with staff members and her fellow docents. Coming from all different backgrounds and having seen a diverse array of exhibitions, she says there’s a great opportunity to learn from each other as well.
Guests interested in attending a tour can contact Candace Bean, Education Associate at 256-535-4350 x 223 or by emailing [email protected]. Individuals interested in supporting the Museum by volunteering can learn more by visiting our volunteer page.