Get InvolvedVolunteer

DIA Volunteer at Rivera Court
DIA Volunteer

Volunteer Award Winner:
Elsie Golden

Museum Shop - 2001

"You can't be serious! Why would you choose me as volunteer of the Year?" said Elsie Golden. "There is absolutely nothing to say!" Contrary to Elsie's opinion, the Museum Shop Committee treasures Elsie as a delightful and active member of our committee. We are fortunate to have her on the Museum Shop Volunteer Committee.

Elsie was the first chairman of our committee following the founder, Peggy Winkelman. This was in 1965 that Elsie served as chairman, and she is still actively involved! When it was difficult to find volunteers willing to tag and sort merchandise during the final days before the Van Gogh Exhibition Elsie was ready and willing to help. She put in over 160 volunteer hours last year and arrives at the Woodward Shop every Friday eager to work, meet her friends, and greet our customers.

Elsie began her thirty plus years of volunteer work at the D.I.A. when she discovered that the museum was looking for volunteers back in the early 1960's. She attended exhibitions and lectures regularly and decided that she had the time and interest. In 1963 Elsie organized the scheduling of volunteers for selling catalogues at the very successful King Tut show. According to Bill Bostick's (Business Manager and Secretary to the Director, Willis Woods at that time) letter of appreciation, over 6,000 catalogues were sold.

It is interesting to note that Elsie was born on Farnsworth Street just a short distance from the present location of the D.I.A.! When she was two years old her parents and she moved just north of Grand Boulevard. A Detroiter through and through, it is obvious that Elsie has many fond memories of the city and the D.I.A. She remembers her friends who attended Wayne State back in the 1930's telling her about watching Diego Rivera work on his Detroit masterpiece. Unfortunately Elsie was a busy working girl making lots of money ($25.00 a week) and couldn't sneak away to the D.I.A.

Not only did Elsie serve as Chairman of the Museum Shop Volunteers, she also was treasurer of the Volunteer Board and volunteered her time at Oakland University. Her volunteer work was interrupted for several years following the death of her young husband. Elsie decided that she needed a "destination" everyday and went back to work. When her life settled down Elsie returned to the D.I.A.

Besides art, travel is a favorite interest of Elsie's. She has been to England three times and has extensively traveled in the Middle East and the Orient. She is planning a trip to California later this year. Whenever Elsie can get away she enjoys visiting her son and his family in Virginia.

Over the past forty years Elsie has seen many changes at the D.I.A. and in the Museum Shops. She remembers having pamphlets and small inexpensive items for the children at the Woodward entrance. "It was not very business-like," said Elsie. "If the children were short of cash we would dip in to pay for the tax. We flew by the seat of our pants in the early days. There was no system, but it sure was fun!"

"Now everything is professionally done, but I still think we have to offer very inexpensive items to the children. We must be friendly and welcoming. We want the kids to be excited about the D.I.A. and be eager to come back."

Why does Elsie continue to volunteer her time at the D.I.A.? "It's a nice place to be, and I learn something new every time I come. Maybe I'm just a frustrated artist!"

Thank you, Elsie. It's important to us that you are a member of our committee.

--Lyn Bianco


Support the DIA

Your membership and donations are critical to the museum’s success.

Give a Membership


Be a Volunteer

You can support our staff and help provide our visitors with a memorable experience. See available volunteer opportunities

Loretta Gates

Loretta Gates

Volunteer of the Year

Interpretive Programs Volunteers

Past Winners


Beverly Avadenka

Beverly Avadenka

Volunteer to Volunteer

October 2011

Past Winners