Recommended Books

Lois H. Silverman, The Social Work of Museums. Routledge, 2010, 192 pp.

This book discusses at length the role of museums as a resource for professionals in the field of social work. Museums meet individual human needs and can benefit relationships.


The publication “In the Company of Friends” celebrating fifty years of volunteering at the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa is indeed a celebration of a proud history of volunteering.

Book CoverIt is a delightful title, and the cover gives one a feeling of happy anticipation before even opening the book.  The content, which is well displayed and includes many wonderful photographs, is a testament as to why volunteers have become so necessary to many museums and art galleries throughout the country.   With amazing dedication, hard work and obvious enjoyment, the story unfolds demonstrating that the volunteers over the fifty years have provided the National Gallery of Canada with amazing physical and financial aid as well as being ambassadors for the Gallery wherever they went.

The book outlines the history of the group and the many areas where they have so successfully made a difference.  The story of the Rideau Chapel Restoration is inspiring and shows, not only what can be achieved despite a tendency towards governmental disregard of the importance of heritage, but also how important the role of a well organized volunteer group can be.

In addition to retelling the history of the group the book includes some tips, based on experience, which would be of use to other groups on how to organize certain functions, such as a day trip or a study group.

Altogether a highly commendable publication in celebration of a significant milestone which augurs well for the future.  One can only say, carry on the good work to sustain the institution, and, more than anything, continue to enjoy.  As all dedicated volunteers know, volunteering is a two way street, one gets back as much, and often more, as one gives. The National Gallery of Canada is lucky to have had, and to continue to have, the support of such an accomplished, dedicated group.

In the Company of Friends is available at $20 per copy (plus $5 for shipping and handling) from:

Volunteers’ Circle of the National Gallery
Box 333, Station A
Ottawa, ON   K1N 8V3

Payment by cheque, MasterCard or VISA.

May also be ordered by e-mail from or directly from the National Gallery’s web site:


A new publication from the American Association of Museum Volunteers is  a soft cover 100-page book, Transforming Museum Volunteering.

Book CoverThis is a practical guide, well laid out, with many examples, for museum staff and volunteer managers, which illustrates the need for new approaches to engage volunteers in the 21st century. Volunteerism has changed in recent years to encompass a much broader range of people with very varied interests, cultural background, levels of education and time available – this guide is an excellent tool with which to recruit, train and reward today’s volunteers.

Transforming Museum Volunteering, by Ellen Hirzy, for the AAMV, is published by AuthorHouse.  Visit to purchase.  Price: $29.95 US.


Dr. Sean Murphy, member of the CFFM Advisory Council, has published a bilingual book, Dare to Draw – La passion du dessin. The author recounts with a contagious passion his personal adventures as a self-confessed amateur. A book for anyone who has ever had the urge to draw.

Published by McClure Gallery/Visual Arts Centre, 350 Victoria Ave., Westmount,Que., and also available at the National Gallery of Canada and the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts.

120 pages, priced at $24.95.


Please note that a few copies of the 2007 book published by the Quebec Association of Friends and Volunteers of Museums (RQABM), the Guide de gestion des associations d’amis et de bénévoles de musées, 162 pages, in French, are still available.  Cost: free, postage $5.00. For copies contact: