Meet the Volunteer: Diana Gardner

Diana GardnerIt’s hard to believe Diana Gardner has been volunteering with us for less than a year. She made her home in Bristol, Rhode Island before moving back to Chicago. Diana has always been connected to Chicago and chose to return to be near her family and friends.

There was something Diana missed when she made Chicago her home once again. In Rhode Island Diana had the opportunity to volunteer at Blithewold Mansion for several years. “I enjoyed welcoming guests and giving a little history of the Van Winkle Family whose daughter Marjorie saved the mansion, with all the furnishings, for the state of Rhode Island. Once I got settled in Chicago I wanted to volunteer and hoped to find a place as special as Blithewold.”

Once her son found her an apartment for her in Andersonville, it wasn’t long before Diana found the Swedish American Museum. It was in walking distance of her place and attracted her right away. According to Diana she knew she wanted to volunteer at the Museum with its wonderful and kind staff and volunteers. For her she observed that the Museum “is a peaceful, comfortable, mid-sized museum that does big things.”

Diana has enjoyed volunteering at the front desk, welcoming guests, answering questions and providing information. Her enthusiasm is contagious. She has also helped with many special events and programs for both children and adults including breakfasts, dinners, concerts and wonderful art exhibits. Diana also threw herself into preparations and pricing for Tantalizing Treasures.

According to Diana, “The whole experience of being a volunteer at the Swedish American Museum is a very fulfilling one for me with its wonderful community of volunteers, staff and guests. I am always meeting and enjoying visitors from around the world. It’s a happy place to volunteer and there is so much to learn about the history of the many interesting families who immigrated from Sweden.”

From the vantage point of the front desk, Diana also enjoys seeing the excited faces of our youngest guests coming to the Brunk Children’s Museum of Immigration. Diana said about these visitors and their families, “Electronics are put away and imaginations engage—priceless in this day and age.”

Diana makes a point to say, “You don’t have to be Swedish to volunteer at the Swedish American Museum, just bring your enthusiasm and your smile. I have been blessed to find great joy here.” She is a wonderful representative of the spectacular volunteers we have at the Museum and we look forward to her contributions for years to come.

– Elizabeth Cline, Membership and Volunteer Manager