Volunteer Spotlight: Kathy Kendall

In this series, Manager of Visitor and Family Engagement Emily Bray profiles volunteers within the museum. Phillips volunteers are an integral part of the museum and help in many ways: greeting and guiding guests through the museum, helping with Sunday Concerts, assisting patrons in the library, helping out with Phillips after 5 and special events, and so much more. Our volunteers offer a wealth of expertise and experience to the museum, and we are delighted to highlight several them.

Kathy Kendall, Phillips Music Volunteer

Kathy Kendall

What year did you start volunteering at The Phillips Collection?


What do you see as the most valuable aspect of your volunteering?

Sitting in the Music Room listening to prize-winning musicians from many countries has not only given me enormous pleasure, hearing the classics played with such fervor and skill, but has also broadened my taste for new and unusual music. We’re all sharing the experience together; sometimes the room just vibrates with excitement. I am delighted to be there, and to help the staff and the audience with the tickets, the programs, and the questions that arise.  We can be an extra hand.

The musicians have extremely busy schedules, and generally leave soon after the concert.  Occasionally, however, the musicians have time for a brief foray into the gallery, and I take them to see Renoir’s Luncheon of the Boating Party. The Renoir and Friends: Luncheon of the Boating Party exhibition and excellent panel presentation about the painting helped me to deepen my knowledge of that treasure.

What do you do when you are not volunteering at The Phillips Collection?

I am about 90% retired as a professor of political communication, having taught at the University at Albany, State University of New York for 37 years, and then at the University of Maryland, College Park, in the Department of Communication. I still work with a few graduate students at UMD; publish occasionally on topics such as communication in the presidential primaries; and attend professional conventions. In my photo, I’m sitting in the model of the Oval Office at the George W. Bush Presidential Library in Dallas, happy that more and more women are stepping forward and running for office. 2018 should be a banner year for female candidates.

What is your favorite room or painting here?

For the music volunteers, the Music Room is a logical favorite. The oak paneling, the high windows, the beautiful paintings, and the historical ambiance (these concerts began in 1941) provide the perfect setting for the glorious chamber music.

If you had to choose one word to describe Phillips, what would it be?

I would have to choose several—human scale, calm, and intense focus on creativity.

Share a fun fact about you.

I like the funnies, and read some comic strips every day in the Washington Post. What will happen tomorrow in Spider Man, Pickles, Mark Trail, Peanuts, Sally Forth, and Doonesbury?

Is there anything else you would like to share?

I fell in love with DC on the Washington Semester Plan in college, and can’t imagine a better place to be. The Phillips is a vital part of my life.

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