Volunteers help keeping the arts alive in Springfield - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM


Volunteers help keeping the arts alive in Springfield

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(Western Mass News photo) (Western Mass News photo)

The Springfield Museums is a staple in our community, bringing together people from all aspects of life, but not without the help of volunteers.

"What brings people together?  Art or music.  You don't have to speak the same language you can just experience something wonderful together," said Mary Ellen Scott.

Scott is a long-standing board member and volunteer for the Springfield Museums

"I'm very glad I did.  I think this institution is such an asset to our community.  We're so blessed to have the arts like we have these wonderful museums and the symphony.  I think it's a really import part for community members to give back to their community," Scott noted.

One of Scott's primary jobs as a board member is fundraising

"The science museum is in great need of some update and repair and that costs a lot of money," Scott explained.

Heather Cahill, director of development at the museums, added, "She was very helpful to orient myself to the work at the museums.  She's been a phenomenal fund-raiser and has great connections and can pick up the phone and get people to do things that I cannot.  She's been a great asset to me."

Cahill told Western Mass News that Scott has been a great asset to her.

"She's very hardworking, so part of what I enjoy about her is that she's dedicated to the cause of museums, but to a point, she's able to roll up her sleeves and do a lot of the work.  She's not just giving us suggestions, she's actually carrying those through," Cahill explained.

Scott helped fundraise for the Seuss Museum and also chaired the Springfield Museums annual gala

"With Mary Ellen's help, we were the most successful we've ever been.  We had over 35 sponsors, corporate and individual and then we brought in about $60,000," Cahill said.

Scott added, "This year, we tied it in with the new Kennedy exhibit, which has the Avadom photos and we also have a replica of JFK's desk you can sit down at and pick up the phone.  Since JFK was from Massachusetts, I think it was a particularly good draw for people to want to be a part of the celebration. We had 450 people here for cocktails and dinner."

Working at least 20 hours a week volunteering, Scott has helped to raise thousands for the Springfield Museums

"I've just enjoyed it, totally, and I'm sad I'll be stepping off the board because there's a time limit you have to serve on the board," Scott said.

However, Cahill said that she isn't getting away that easy

"Mary Ellen, we focused on her work here at the museum, but she's truly a community volunteer and she works for many other organizations and so she brings expertise about volunteering and strategizing form other non-profit organizations in the area, so that's been very helpful.  I'm not going to let her go," Cahill explained.

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