PMA Names Volunteer of the Year
7/16/2007 - PMA Names Volunteer of the Year
Chicago, IL – The Polish Museum of America (PMA), located in Chicago, IL, depends heavily upon the generosity of hundreds of volunteers who assist in running events, workshops and cultural programs throughout the year, as well as for behind-the-scenes help. Without these volunteers the small museum staff would never be able to offer the many activities and programs that are sponsored by the PMA.
In appreciation for their help, each June the Museum honors all the volunteers – including members of the media who publicize PMA events - at a Volunteer Luncheon. Chairing this event was Joann Ozog, PMA Volunteer Coordinator, who is herself a full-time volunteer at the museum. She made sure everyone in attendance received a first-class meal, table favor, a chance to win raffle prizes and a certificate of recognition.
This year the luncheon – which honored 134 volunteers - was held on June 7 at the Polish Museum. Eight volunteers were given special recognition: Esther Witek and Felicia Krupinski for each contributing over 300 volunteer hours during the past year and Rosalie Lindberg, Carol Jankowski, Zbigniew Kobus, Bogusia Yon, Renata Schneider, and Stasia Gasior for each volunteering over 100 hours.
Mark Sorbi was chosen as the PMA’s Volunteer of the Year for 2007. He began working part-time at the Polish Museum in 1996. A few months later, he began working full-time for the Polish Roman Catholic Union of America, in the same building. Since that time, Mark has continued to volunteer in the museum during his lunch and break times. Much of this time is spent setting up the Great Hall for events and setting up temporary exhibits.
In between these activities, Mark has been revamping the PMA's permanent exhibits. In 2002, he hung the paintings, graphics and sculptures in the entrance hall, stairwells and art gallery. Then he began working on the Art Deco Poster display. Later, he undertook setting up artifacts in the display case outside the Royal Room and hanging prints and tapestries which relate to the Poland’s Royalty on nearby walls.
In 2003, Mark rearranged the folk art display cases and reorganized them into three categories: folk arts, decorative arts and religious items. After the new floor was installed in the museum, he set up the roadside religious shrines, the Gniezno cathedral door replica, the winged Hussars’ armor and the Jagiellonian globe. In 2005, Mark created exhibits pertaining to Generals Kosciuszko and Pulaski; the partitions of Poland by Russia, Prussia and Austria (1772 -1795); the Duchy of Warsaw during the Napoleonic period; the National Insurrection of 1830 and the National Uprising of 1863.
Mark created the Our Lady of Czestochowa exhibit case to display artifacts regarding Our Lady and/or the Monastery of Jasna Gora. He also set up an exhibit of religious items, including banners, statues, crosses, Bibles, etc.
In early 2006, Mark began creating the Helena Modjeska exhibit, which had been removed when the exhibit was refurbished in 2005. These items include: photos, playbills, prints, her mother’s Hungarian Bible, sketches, a handwritten letter of introduction, her Crucifix, etc.
The future projects that Mark looks forward to completing are redoing the Art Gallery; the Royal Room; the Maritime Room and the Military exhibits.
In addition to volunteering at the PMA, Mark is an active member of the Copernicus Foundation, President of the Polish Military History Society of America, Treasurer of the Silent Film Society of Chicago and a member of the PRCUA. The Polish Museum is indeed fortunate to so many selfless volunteers, but especially to have a volunteer as dedicated as Mark Sorbi, who deserves public recognition for all he has accomplished.
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Contact: Kathryn Rosypal
Caption: (L-r) PMA Archivist Halina Misterka, Museum Dir. Jan Lorys, PMA Librarian Malgorzata Kot, Volunteer of the Year Mark Sorbi and Volunteer Coordinator Joann Ozog