My first day on the job at The Blanton was August 2, 1999. I remember the date because one of the first things I did in my new position as full-time membership assistant was to create a record for myself in the database. It’s still there, my $35 individual membership from 8/2/99.
In just a couple of months I’ll be celebrating my 12th anniversary at The Blanton. These days I’m no longer membership assistant, but serve instead as Director of Membership and Museum Services. I can honestly say that after all of these years, I still love my job. Not only do I work with amazing colleagues, but I also have the great fortune of knowing and connecting with all of the wonderful Blanton members.
That’s why I’m so excited that this June (starting today!) we are celebrating Member Appreciation Month at the museum. Of course we appreciate our members every day of the year, but we are thrilled to acknowledge them this month in several special ways. The simple truth is, the museum cannot do what it does without the ongoing support and dedication of its members.
In my nearly 12 years serving the members of The Blanton, there are many stories that I could tell: tales of awe-inspiring trips to Cuba, Oaxaca, the Berkshires, and even Houston, with just a couple of snafus along the way (think food poisoning and bus delays) to keep them interesting and memorable, stories of membership growing from 1,200 to 10,200 households in the span of one year after the opening of the new Michener Gallery Building, crowning our 10,000th member at the May 2007 B scene, and how the membership database crashed after the grand opening, delaying our ability to process new membership cards for eight weeks! (Thank you for your patience, Charter Members!).
When I sign the membership letters now, I still recognize the names of those members who joined The Blanton when I first started working here. And then there are the truly dedicated members, who have supported the museum since the beginning of the membership program in 1982… and some even before that!
The Blanton currently has 6,284 member households. To all of you, I say, thank you.
On behalf of the membership team of Laura, Ansley, and myself, and the entire Blanton staff, we hope to see you at the museum this month as we recognize and honor you.
Image caption: Kim Theel with longstanding Blanton members Alicean and Charles Kalteyer at Director’s Circle Holiday Party, c. 2001.