Message from Laura Pratt
This past year brought a mix of emotions and was a tale of two contrasts. The first half of the year was off the charts! Staff and volunteers were an integral part of the Monet magic that swept through Denver and culminated in record attendance to the museum galleries. Everyone working at the museum during that lively and exciting time made daily pivots to accommodate the crush of visitors, all while preparing for the festive debut of the Martin Building scheduled for early summer 2020. The second half of the year could not have offered a greater contrast. However, the dynamism and creativity of our staff to move through massive change while maintaining a focus on serving our visitors and delivering on our mission with engaging programs and impeccable customer service was the constant factor that spanned the entire year.
I was a bit apprehensive about returning to such a public place as the museum. But, my experience could not have been more reassuring and enjoyable…I am very appreciative of all your efforts to insure the safety of both the public and of the employees. Also, bravo to the curators of the exhibits! And thank you to your warm and welcoming staff members.
The museum closed to the public in mid-March and the safety and health of the staff, volunteers and visitors remained the Denver Art Museum’s top priority, even when the doors reopened (with limited capacity) at the end of June. The staff was, and remains, diligent in keeping the museum safe, clean, and protected through it all.
While much of the staff has switched to remote work since mid-March, some continued to report to the museum campus each day to keep the environment safe for art and people. Our security, facilities, exhibition, collections, conservation, and technology teams were all onsite keeping the museum running smoothly behind the scenes. Once we reopened, sales and services, Shop, and visitor operations staff members delivered top-notch customer service with grace in these challenging times.
Many new protocols were put into place to maintain a clean and comfortable environment. In fact, our facilities team was nominated for the 2020 Facility Management Achievement Award by the Denver chapter of the International Facility Management Association, the world’s largest and most widely recognized international association for facility management professionals. This achievement award recognized excellence in facilities management during 2020, of which the COVID-19 response was a big part. The DAM team was runner-up to the Denver Broncos’ engineering division, but just being nominated is quite an honor and speaks volumes about our outstanding team. Additionally, the City and County of Denver awarded our facilities manager, Jeff Roberts, the Energize Denver Individual Leadership Award for setting the bar for effective leadership in the face of adversity.
Staff had to learn and adapt on a daily basis and they were nimble and thoughtful through it all. None of it would be possible without a collective effort of flexibility and compromise. The culture of the Denver Art Museum is a product of the individuals that choose to work within its walls (virtual and physical!). The values that the Denver Art Museum staff embodies every day—Dynamic, Creative, Inclusive, Curious, and Respectful—continued to come through all year long.
The staff of the Denver Art Museum has its own community and it was, and remains, a priority to foster connections during this time. Our staff intranet, All Staff Meetings, team game nights, individual creativity, and virtual happy hours all served to bridge the physical divide and allow staff the chance to share information and foster the relationships that are such a part of working at the DAM.
This year has also brought to light the utter necessity to advance racial equity in this country. While this is a task for the entire society, we have a true opportunity to do our part within the world of art and museums. The museum leadership team worked, in concert with a staff Equity, Diversity, and Inclusivity Committee, to develop a Racial Equity Roadmap to outline the work necessary to become a more inclusive museum. Staff and volunteers, at all levels and in all areas of the museum, are engaging in conversations with one another and bringing new information and perspective to their work here each day. We have the opportunity to evolve our organization and support the evolution of our community and society in positive ways.
Through this year, from beginning to end, the staff and volunteers showed patience, dedication, and engagement in their work. It is encouraging and gratifying to be part of an organization that offers a place for all people to experience beauty, inspiration, and reflection.
- Laura Pratt, Senior Director of Talent and Culture
Volunteer Engagement Strategic Plan
For more than a century, volunteers have played a vital role in the Denver Art Museum’s mission to enrich the lives of present and future generations through the acquisition, presentation, and preservation of works of art, supported by exemplary scholarship and public programs related to both its permanent collections and to temporary exhibitions presented by the museum.
Now, guided by its Vision 2021 plan and the impending opening of the Martin Building, museum leadership recognized that they could not achieve the DAM’s bold goals without further engaging the talents and skills of those who share a passion for art. This plan, developed with support from consultant VQ Volunteer Strategies, provides the path to leveraging community members as current and future volunteers in this work. Volunteers and staff began implementing this plan in January 2020.