Patrick Hamilton has volunteered at the Freer|Sackler since 2009 as a Visitor Information Specialist (VIS). VIS provide essential services to the Smithsonian by offering a warm welcome and useful information to our visitors about exhibitions, activities, services, and more. I recently asked him a few questions about his work at the museum.
What drew you to volunteer the Freer|Sackler?
I worked across the street at the Department of Energy from 1994 until 2008. In those days, I visited the Freer|Sackler at least once a week, fantasizing what it would be like to work with all the beautiful things on display—and here I am!
What’s the most satisfying experience about volunteering for the museum?
I most enjoy working with newcomers to our collection. I feel most useful when I’m able to direct guests to something specific that I know they will enjoy and will become a treasured memory of their visit to the Smithsonian.
Can you share a memorable interaction you have had?
I most recall the delight I felt meeting the Tibetan Buddhist monks from Drepung Loseling Monastery when they came to the Sackler to build a traditional sand mandala in the foyer.
What’s your favorite artwork in the collection?
Among the current items on view in the Sackler, I would choose the gilt metal statue of Tibetan Buddhist teacher, Machig Labdron. She is doubly important to me since she is also the patron of an education project I work with in Tibet.