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Cincinnati Museum Center celebrates heart and soul of institution

487 volunteers contributed over 54,000 hours in 2016

CINCINNATI – Cincinnati Museum Center (CMC) honored more than 480 volunteers at a special 1940s-themed banquet and celebration Tuesday night.

In total, 487 volunteers contributed 54,949 hours in various capacities. Those volunteers have served as the steady hands carefully piecing together prehistoric pottery and dinosaur bones, the captivating tour guides that lead guests through the brewery district and historic homes of Cincinnati and the smiling faces guests see throughout the Duke Energy Children’s Museum and special exhibition galleries.

“Our volunteers are the heart and soul of organization,” said Elizabeth Pierce, president and CEO of Cincinnati Museum Center. “Their passion, knowledge and dedication make every visit, every program, every tour special. Their impact is felt in every aspect of our research, guest experience and broad community impact.”

Of the nearly 55,000 hours volunteered in 2016, Barbara Jennings contributed 1,311 of them, earning her the Pinnacle Award for most hours worked in a calendar year. Jennings worked for 35 years as a clinical microbiologist but for the past 10 years has volunteered over 11,000 hours to Cincinnati Museum Center as a docent with the Cincinnati Heritage Programs, leading tours through Cincinnati’s historic neighborhoods, sharing the stories of those who have built and defined the city over the past 200 years.

Jennings was not alone in her commitment to service in 2016; 15 different volunteers were recognized with the Mercedes Spiegel award for logging more than 400 hours. Volunteers Jeffrey Davis, Janet Joerg, Kenneth McMullin and Frederick Moore were celebrated for their 25 years of service and Harley Piltingsrud was recognized for 30 years as a volunteer. Some may not know Piltingsrud by his name but they certainly recognize his work. A retired physicist, he spent over 5,000 hours restoring the historic 1929 E.M. Skinner organ that is a mainstay of Union Terminal’s Rotunda. His continued care and maintenance of the organ and its pipes, some of which are 32 feet long, have allowed CMC to transform the Rotunda into a grand concert hall where the sounds of the organ reverberate around guests.

“I am truly humbled by our volunteers’ dedication, support and commitment to our mission,” said Angie Smorey, director of Volunteer & Intern Services for Cincinnati Museum Center. “Their significant contribution of time and expertise makes an impact on every aspect of our organization, and their flexibility and continued involvement during Union Terminal’s restoration has been vital to Cincinnati Museum Center’s continued community impact. I am in awe of their accomplishments and their ability to inspire our Members, guests and employees.”

In addition to its more than 480 adult volunteers, CMC relies on the passion and generosity of its Boards of Trustees; Duke Energy Children’s Museum, Natural History and History advisory boards; and over 100 youth volunteers participating in CMC’s Youth Programs.

For more information on how you can become involved in volunteering at CMC visit