On Hatteberg’s People, in the quiet of the Wichita Art Museum, Lois Crane has volunteered for 31 years in the art library – not usually seen by most visitors. This month, she will retire, but she leaves a legacy of volunteerism that has provided the museum with the type of quality assistance that is typical of those whose goals are not the monetary kind.
“It’s just been a part of me and I’ve always liked art," she says.
Crane has been among great painters for years. She is not an artist…She really can’t draw at all. Her power has been in this room, a room seldom visited except by art students and art historians.
“I’ve always liked library work anywhere. I’ve worked in school libraries, public libraries, special libraries and academic libraries.”
Lois is the librarian at the Wichita Art museum…a job she has loved for 31 years.
“It’s just kind of a part of me. I’ve always liked art."
In this quiet room among the art books, this woman has organized, categorized and surrounded her life with the beauty of art. All those 31 years her pay has been….zero.
“A quote from Emerson that someone sent me….saying the reward for doing something well, is to have done it.”
And Lois has done for over three decades, a volunteer whose work has helped shape the Wichita Art Museum.
“As my husband says, my car is trained to go from home to here.”
But not everyone takes advantage of a resource that is right under their nose and Lois believes it is their loss – having priceless treasurers at their fingertips yet never entering the building.
“I’m constantly running into people and asking if they have been to the Art Museum and, no they haven’t. And people who come in for the first time and are so amazed by what we have here and never realized it.”
Often, Lois visits the galleries just to look at the artwork to see subtleties that she may have missed before. This painting is one of her favorites.
“Yes, it is. It looks like my grandfather. Big ears and all, it’s like all our grandfathers who are here to show that they made it.”
And so has Lois – 31 years of volunteering among the things she loves.
“It’s a marvelous resource and I can just be satisfied and go on from there.”