Docents at WaltersEditor: I read with interest Patricia...


August 11, 1991

Docents at Walters

Editor: I read with interest Patricia Meisol's July 15 article regarding the National Gallery of Art's ''pioneering effort to attract full-time professionals as volunteer guides'' by implementing a weekend docent training schedule.

She strongly suggests that such efforts elsewhere would greatly benefit the museum-going public, as both historically and currently the function of ''passing on culture to the masses'' has fallen largely to middle-waged ''ladies of leisure -- women of a certain social class who do not work outside the home.''

While taking exception to Ms. Meisol's over-generalized, stereotypical and anachronistic description of contemporary museum docents, I heartily endorse her thesis that the most effective and communicative docent corps would include qualified men and women of varied backgrounds, interests and ages.

In fact, this goal has long been achieved at the Walters Art Gallery in a manner which ensures that tour presentations of superior quality are consistently available during the week as well as on weekends.

Traditionally, the Walters' year-long docent training program has attracted retired and semi-retired professionals, male and female. Our current group of 90 includes lawyers, doctors, teachers, authors, artists, a computer programmer, a police detective, a speech therapist, a union organizer, a media consultant, an interior designer and many others of diverse talents and educational experience.

They are all committed to utilize their more flexible schedules to share their knowledge and enthusiasm with the thousands of adult education and school groups who necessarily must schedule their visits during the week, and to provide a variety of weekend highlight and thematic tours as well.

Mary P. Edgar.


The writer is president of the Volunteer Organization of the Walters Art Gallery.

Where's the Faith?

Editor: Regarding Christopher Leighton's July 27 Opinion * Commentary piece, "Onward Christian Soldiers," I was happy to see an upbeat title for a change. But was its message really upbeat? I do not think so.

There are people now suffering in a country known as Israel. Their only wrong is belonging to a religious group not Jewish. If they wanted to be submissive and super-agreeable and offer to become Jewish, they would not be allowed to do so. So what should they do, meekly fold up their belongings and move away?

It behooves Christians to gather up their philosophical weapons and enter the battle to see that justice is done because we are the ones with the best leverage. When we do this we are accused of being anti-Semitic. Even Mr. Leighton gives this term a spin without defining it. This only adds to the exploitation and confusion surrounding it.

Mr. Leighton mistakes the speaking of needful truth for hatred. Truth is a divine attribute, and it is indeed needed when our Arab brethren, some of them Christian, are suffering for its lack. Does Jesus' gospel of love tolerate such negligence?

In Mr. Leighton's words I did not find much faith in the attribute of love. He fears it easily turns to hate -- an assumption he has no right to make. Neither fear nor hate are Christian characterizations.

It is time again for the ringing, stinging, yet hope-filled words for Mary in Christianity's bleakest phase, "Where is your faith?"

. K. S. Judge.


Green Glass Glut?

Editor: For those of us who have been recycling our glass

containers, it is dismaying to learn that the huge volume of imported beverages in green bottles is undermining our efforts to recycle.

Successful recycling programs in our community and our country rely on strong markets for our recycled materials.

When too much recycled material is generated, the markets collapse.

In recent months, the volume of recycled green glass from imported "Yuppie" beers and wines has overwhelmed the capacity of our domestic glass mills that produce green glass for products made in the United States. The result is that recycled green glass is now difficult to recycle because its value has dropped to zero.

But what can we do? As consumers, we can make a difference by boycotting imported beer and wine in green bottles. A consumer boycott of imported green glass bottles will reduce the flood of green glass in the recycled materials market today and eventually convince foreign bottlers to switch to brown, or clear glass that our domestic mills can absorb.

James Himel.

Baltimore. Editor: I attended a hearing July 23 regarding the three Baltimore City watersheds -- Loch Raven, Liberty, and Prettyboy. I have an attachment to them tracing from my fishing trips as a child to my scientific studies as an adult (my graduate degree thesis was ''The Vascular Flora of Loch Raven Watershed'').

Members of the task force listened with great patience to the public concerns, particularly regarding recreational opportunities and forestry practices within the watersheds.

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