Since the beginning of the Floyd Story Center at the Old Church Gallery’s Roots with Wings Oral History Project, Radford University Anthropology and Sociology students have been both foundation and backbone elements. In May of 2019, coordinators of the Roots with Wings Project pondered how to introduce students representing a wider range of Radford University programs of study to the Museum. Dr. Melinda Wagner reached out to Dr. Roann Barris of the RU Art Department. Part of that correspondence follows:
Do you think a Museum Intern would be able to undertake and benefit from this work? The intern would need to be a quick learner and able to work independently, as well as work well with volunteer staff. I always think one of the most important traits for interns is to know when to ask for direction and when to act on their own. The intern would need to travel to the Old Church Gallery in Floyd. From RU that is 25 miles one way – a 45-minute trip. And the intern’s schedule would need to be sufficiently flexible to allow a match with volunteer staff schedules.
Hello, Melinda. I always read your reports and the upcoming intern experience sounds wonderful and valuable. Will we have someone in the program to be able to do it? I can think of a few people who might be interested.
Hi Melinda, I spoke to a student who actually received her bachelor’s degree a year ago, and this year, she started taking courses in our Master of Fine Arts program which really isn’t her interest since she wants to do museum work and art history. So she is still around Radford and would be very interested in the internship experience in Floyd. Ally has experience and would be an asset for the program. If she doesn’t have to be enrolled in classes, she’s the one. I told her about the Floyd program and she asked me to tell you of her interest.
September 9, 2019
I have been corresponding with Melinda Wagner about volunteering at the Old Church Gallery. I plan on joining the other volunteers on Wednesday and was just wondering if there’s anything I need to know prior to meeting or if I need to bring anything specific.
Thank you, I look forward to meeting and working with everyone!
So began a most enjoyable relationship with a young volunteer. Ally grew up in Hampton, Virginia: She studied art history and museum work and plans to continue those studies in graduate school. She had completed a tour of volunteer work with the Taubman Museum and wanted to have experience with a smaller community museum. Ally had heard of the Roots With Wings project and of The Old Church Gallery but had never visited. This would be a compare and contrast experience — always my favorite type of exploration. She arrived cheerful and eager to contribute. She easily became a member of the Wednesday work group jumping right in to help photograph and measure quilts.
October 16, 2019
I just wanted to let you know that Ally Amick, who you recommended as an intern for the Floyd Story Center at the Old Church Gallery and Museum, has been a real boon. That is what I have heard via word of mouth, and here is a message I received from Alice Slusher, board member of the Old Church Gallery and loyal volunteer:
All is going well with Ally. Thus far she’s worked with Catherine and a team of volunteers, putting posters from past exhibits in the “big book” display, and photographing and measuring crazy quilts from the permanent collection.
Thank you so much for sending Ally our way.
In February the Gallery house underwent renovation, which then called for major clean-up. I put out a request to the volunteers. Not only did Ally come, she brought her own vacuum cleaner. Not only did she come and bring her own vacuum cleaner, she donated her vacuum cleaner to the Old Church Gallery.
Ally dusted (and vacuumed), took notes, carried furniture, took and documented photographs. The link to a short video she prepared from her photographs is at the bottom of this page. She became a member of the team, joining in the laughter as we shared tea, coffee, and chocolate at the end of a workday. Her adventure in a small county museum has been an experience with a slice of Blue Ridge culture.
Although Ally is moving to Wisconsin, she will continue to volunteer her on-line time to help with transcriptions and documentation. She will become our first national volunteer. I give Ally my highest compliment: “You’re a good gal, Charlie Brown.”
Here is a video that illustrates some of the contributions Ally Amick made to documenting the Old Church Gallery’s collections:
Catherine Pauley, Executive Vice President, Old Church Gallery