In this series, Education Specialist 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.
Anna Palmisano, Art Information and Library Volunteer
What year did you start volunteering at The Phillips Collection?
AP: I started volunteering in 2013 during the Van Gogh Repetitions exhibit.
What do you see as the most valuable aspect of your volunteering?
AP: I want to help visitors have the best possible experience at The Phillips Collection. I especially enjoy helping visitors find a favorite painting or works by a favorite artist. I love when visitors stop to see me after touring the museum to tell me about their experience.
What do you do when you are not volunteering at The Phillips Collection?
AP: I lead Marylanders for Patient Rights—a non-profit group dedicated to promoting legislation to protect the rights of hospital patients, who are among our most vulnerable consumers. I work with a wide range of advocacy groups and state legislators to promote patient rights.
What is your favorite room or painting here?
AP: I have so many favorite paintings! My favorite artists are Paul Klee, for his whimsical paintings that evoke childhood, and Pierre Bonnard for his use of colors in creating an ethereal and dreamlike atmosphere.
If you had one word to describe the Phillips, what would it be?
Share a fun fact about you!
AP: I am a scientist by training—a microbial ecologist. My doctoral research took me to the continent of Antarctica on seven expeditions to study how microorganisms adapt to extreme environments.
Is there anything else you would like to share?
AP: I have been coming to the Phillips since I was six years old. I was fortunate that my parents and my aunt, the sculptor Marie Lesher, introduced me to the Phillips, and it remains my favorite museum. When I retired, The Phillips Collection was an obvious choice for volunteering. I enjoy the art and wonderful people who work here!