As a nonprofit Museum, volunteers play a vital role in helping carry out our goal of using art to enlighten, engage, energize and empower our Lehigh Valley community.

You may have heard of the Allentown Art Museum Auxiliary and the Society of the Arts, but did you know that these two groups are the Museum’s volunteer organizations? In honor of National Volunteer Week, we’re highlighting the Museum’s most valuable people!

Allentown Art Museum Auxiliary

An Allentown Art Museum Auxiliary Bridge Party hosted at the Museum’s second building on 30th St. and Parkway Blvd. This second location stood here for about five years.

In 1946, the AAM Board of Trustees requested the formation of an organization to create and maintain public interest in the Museum and to work for its benefit and growth. Since January 1946, the Allentown Art Museum Auxiliary have been working to fulfill that mission. The Auxiliary’s initial mission was to spread the word about the Museum and raise funds to eventually help move from the Stone building in the Allentown Rose Garden to its current facility.

Although not a requirement of the group, the Auxiliary have provided volunteer services in many ways—sponsoring a booth at the Great Allentown Fair in the late 1940s, holding all Auxiliary events at the Museum for the first 20 years, and continuing to host a Holiday Tea every December for the community. Over the past 75 years, the Auxiliary has coordinated social gatherings, excursions, lectures, raffles, buffet suppers, and other fundraising activities in order to financially support restoring the Museum’s Auditorium, purchasing the piano and benches in the galleries, caring for the planters out front of the Museum, and more.

Auxiliary chair, Ann Hohe, views Yinka Shonibare MBE’s Girl Balancing Knowledge III.

To spread an appreciation of art outside of the Museum, Auxiliary volunteers have taught art classes at Good Shepherd Home and presented at nursing homes. At the Museum, volunteers would help at the Front Desk and were active in the Museum’s library. From 1972 to 1973, Auxiliary volunteers even served as security in the Kress and Rodale Galleries prior to hiring security services. Since 2002, volunteers have been working in the Museum Store, assisting in curatorial, tending to clerical work for the development department, helping to transfer data in the Museum’s new Library program, greeting guests entering Rembrandt Revealed, and much more.

The AAM kindly thanks the Auxiliary volunteers who continuously support the Museum and promote public interest in the arts!

Society of the Arts

Founded in 1964, Society of the Arts (SOTA) is a nonprofit cultural organization with a mission to support the Museum’s presentation of outstanding artistic programs. SOTA has provided financial support through fundraising efforts, including funds for the purchase of more than 350 prints for the Museum’s collections through the SOTA Print Fund, contributing $807,683 since 1965.

Other financial assistance from SOTA include the SOTA Education Endowment Fund to support education activities at the Museum, and support for Free Sundays, Art Ways, and other Museum educational needs without discretionary funds–such as Color and Complexity: 30 Years of Durham Press and New Century New Woman. Since 1964, SOTA has financially contributed $1,344,142 to the Museum.

SOTA also provides support with volunteer hours through its Education Committees that aid in assisting with family programming in the Crayola Classroom, helping with collection maintenance and individual research projects (in 2019, volunteers spent 380 hours carefully vacuuming 60 costumes for Designing Hollywood), leading gallery tours as a Docent to a variety of age groups and Art Can participants, presenting the Museum as a Field Docent to external groups, and promoting further education by researching and presenting on fine art prints to SOTA members.

Support is also provided by SOTA’s general committees—assisting with monthly membership renewal mailings, coordinating fundraising events for the Print Fun, Education Endowment Fund, and discretionary giving to special initiatives, helping at special events, staffing the Museum Store, and hosting general membership meetings to keep our SOTA members updated on Museum activities.

The AAM graciously thanks the Society of the Arts for continuously supporting the Museum financially, educationally, and voluntarily!

Other AAM Volunteer Opportunities

Help us bring the power of art to the community and the vibrancy of the community into art: