The museum is known and loved worldwide for its fabulous collections, hands-on studios and workshops, exceptional events, and stunning printmaking. But the day to day running of the museum - the giving of tours, manning of the front desk, housekeeping, and other mundane but necessary tasks– could not happen without a group of dedicated volunteers. This post is the first in a series of blog posts highlighting those volunteers, the unsung heroes, that help make the museum the magical place it has become.
Darlene Guehlstorf has been volunteering at the museum since her retirement from Hamilton’s in 2001. She started out at the original museum on Jefferson Street where she performed many of the aforementioned tasks. Her specialty though was creating woodtype nameplates used by Hamilton office employees. She could often be found diligently staining and gluing right-reading woodtype at her huge work table while simultaneously keeping an eye on museum happenings.
Darlene is a lifelong resident of the Two Rivers/Manitowoc area where she married, was widowed at the age of 39, and finished the raising of her 3 kids on her own. She continued working at Hamilton’s in a career that spanned 35 years in positions on both the factory floor and in the office.
In addition to becoming a widower at a relatively young age, Darlene has lived through the tragedies of both a daughter and grandson killed in separate car accidents - a fact unknown to most of us as she’s always been a happy, positive, welcoming presence at the museum. In her spare time she loves to play cards (sheepshead), crochet, read, hang out with friends and babysit her grandchildren.
While her involvement with the museum has diminished in recent years, Darlene can still be found at the front desk on occasion more than happy to assist staff and museum visitors. Next time you’re in and Darlene’s on duty, don’t forget to tell her thanks for all her help through the years. We certainly appreciate it!