A World without Volunteers is a World without Olana

by Melanie Hasbrook

Holly Kelly, Membership and Volunteer Coordinator, The Olana Partnership

Imagine Olana without volunteers. If you tried to book a tour, you would find far fewer options- over 4,000 people would be disappointed this year and unable to view the inside of the main house and collections. Imagine Olana in the past without volunteers. Who would have saved Olana over 50 years ago without the dedication of the volunteer advocates who rallied the community, journalists, and politicians? Who would have tirelessly raised funds, given tours, and thrown events to secure Olana’s future? Who would have founded Friends of Olana in 1971, which later became The Olana Partnership?

Without volunteers, Olana as we know it wouldn’t exist. The house and belongings would have gone to auction. The landscape wouldn’t be a public work of art with over 170,000 annual visitors. The Olana Partnership wouldn’t support the preservation of Olana and more than 90 public programs wouldn’t have happened last year. In 2017 volunteers contributed over 1,600 hours of their time to Olana. It’s due to the decades of dedication from volunteers that we can continue to preserve and interpret Frederic Church’s Olana today and for the generations to come.

Volunteers have done so much for Olana, but we still need more volunteers. We need you to give tours so visitors don’t leave disappointed when they can’t experience the entirety of Olana. We need you to help with our education and public programs. We need your support to throw events that connect our community with Olana. We need you to be a part of ensuring a positive visitor experience through the Museum Store. We need you to be an Ambassador, a public face for Olana when people visit. We need you!

We have volunteer opportunities available that range from a few hours a year to a several hours a week, depending on your capacity. There really is something for everybody! As a volunteer you can also join fun educational programs and trips and connect socially with other volunteers. For example, in the next three months volunteers will venture to The Metropolitan Museum of Art for Thomas Cole’s Journey: Atlantic Crossings* and the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art for Frederic Church: A Painter’s Pilgrimage, you will enjoy an exclusive Volunteer Cocktail Hour on the Piazza of the Main House at Olana, and will be invited to attend an Appreciation Luncheon. To volunteer, please email or click here for more information.

*Thank you to the Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area for partially funding this trip