Volunteer Award Winner:
Margaret ''Marge'' Feringa
Docent - March 2007
Margaret Feringa or “Marge” as she has been known by volunteers and staff, has always been an active docent at the Detroit Institute of Arts. For the past 31 years, she has consistently provided a positive image and deep knowledge of art to hundreds of students and adults. During this time, Feringa has also given at least 50 hours every year to the DIA through the Docent Committee, conducted a minimum of 20 tours a year, and has done everything that is asked of a docent. For her contribution of 31 volunteer years to the DIA, the Docent Committee wishes to thank Feringa by naming her “Docent of the Year.”
Feringa was born and raised in New Jersey where she studied nursing. While in Michigan for post-graduate courses, she met and married a medical student and became the mother of five children. She worked part-time as a nurse at Children’s Hospital in Detroit. This was an exciting challenge to be a loving and involved mother, grandmother, and providing care for very sick children.
While some of her children were still at home, she and a friend decided to attend the art history course offered at the DIA. Although she was not planning on becoming a docent, she was “talked into it” and has never regretted her decision. The experience opened her mind to the wonderful and exciting world of art. Feringa and her husband collected oils, watercolors, and prints over the years and some of her favorite works in her home are by Whistler, Hazeltine, Peto, and Burchfield.
Feringa continues to give tours for schools, the public and special exhibitions. Many stories surrounding her tours abound; however, she is particularly fond of this one: After a tour of fifth graders, a young boy made a point of walking next to her and said, “My dad said this was going to be very boring and it wasn’t.”
Homemaker, mother, nurse, grandmother of 11, docent, and church elder, Feringa also found the time to learn about American art, becoming a member of the Friends of the American Wing and serving on its board. Her enthusiasm, love of art, and devotion to the DIA has always been felt by her groups of students and adults. That and her quiet demeanor will remain her legacy and our good fortune.
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