The Walker is committed to increasing diversity in our workforce and especially welcomes applications from minority group members, women, persons with disabilities, members of sexual minority groups and others who may contribute to further diversification of ideas. We are an EOE/AA employer dedicated to fair and inclusive employment practices for all individuals.
We are delighted that you have chosen to become a part of the volunteer team at the Walker Art Center. You are joining others who commit their time and talent toward creating an environment that offers our visitors a remarkable arts experience.
Our committed volunteer team is made up of individuals who bring a wide variety of personal and professional experiences and interests to the museum. While a diverse group, volunteers have a mutual enthusiasm for our mission and the collection.
Volunteers find the museum a stimulating environment where they make a positive contribution to a place they care about. Thank you for contributing your time and knowledge to the Walker Art Center!
History of the Walker Art Center and Mission Statement
The Walker Art Center is a catalyst for the creative expression of artists and the active engagement of audiences.
Focusing on the visual, performing, and media arts of our time, the Walker takes a global, multidisciplinary, and diverse approach to the creation, presentation, interpretation, collection, and preservation of art.
Walker programs examine the questions that shape and inspire us as individuals, cultures, and communities.
The Walker Art Center has made its international mark as a renowned contemporary art center. Often referred to as “more than a museum,” its artistic programming incorporates not only the visual arts but also the performing arts, media arts, film, and educational programming. With more than 600,000 visitors per year, the Walker Art Center and the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden rank in the top 10 in museum attendance nationwide.
The Walker Art Center is named after its founder, Thomas Barlow (T. B.) Walker, a 19th-century lumber baron whose Red River Lumber Company became the third largest in America, providing riches that by 1923 placed him among the world’s 10 wealthiest men. His logging camps became towns; Walker, in northern Minnesota, bears his name.
In 1873, T. B. and his wife, Harriet, bought the home that would become the Walker Art Gallery’s first site: 803 Hennepin Avenue, between Eighth and Ninth streets in the heart of downtown, where the State Theatre now stands. He began acquiring art, “only modern pictures that came within my means and that appeared to be of sufficient importance and value to make this purchase worthwhile.”
By 1879, he was ready to invite people into the 16-by-30-foot Walker Art Gallery, built between his residence and carriage house. This modest beginning wasn’t fancy, but it was conveniently located on the streetcar line. By 1915, after a few additions, the 14-room structure attracted 100,000 visitors annually, and by the 1920s, the Walker Art Gallery—containing 400 paintings and other objects—nearly filled a city block. (During this period, T. B. also founded the Minneapolis Public Library and remained its president for 44 years until his death.)
In 1916 the Walkers bought the 3.5-acre Lowry Homestead at Two Groveland Terrace. In 1925, construction began on a two-story, terra-cotta structure at 1710 Lyndale Avenue South; site of the current Walker Art Center. Designed by Olaf Thorshov of Long & Thorshov, Minneapolis, and built by the James Leck Construction Company, the Venetian-style building was as grand as its owner’s intentions. The Walker Art Galleries opened to the public on May 22, 1927. Five thousand people came that first day to view some 3,500 objects and paintings. When he died on July 28, 1928, at age 88, leaving an estate worth $1.62 million and an art collection worth $100 million more, T. B. had accomplished his dream: “I had a feeling of good will toward the people of Minneapolis particularly, and it was my desire to live here all my life and to do all possible toward the upbuilding of the prosperity of the community.”
The Depression, not surprisingly, was hard on the Walker Art Galleries. By 1939, combined efforts of the newly formed Minnesota Arts Council and the Work Projects Administration (WPA) revived the Walker legacy. The family-run T. B. Walker Foundation granted temporary financial and operational control of the Walker Art Galleries to Daniel Defenbacher, who had been directing the WPA staff. On the bitter cold night of January 4, 1940, a huge crowd attended the reopening of the newly named Walker Art Center.
As the art metamorphosed, so did the building. In late spring 1944, Minneapolis architects Magney, Tusler, and Setter were charged with the facade’s remodel, which they completed by fall. Rebuilt with Mankato stone and Cold Spring granite, the moderne facade was all smooth surface and straight lines—a dramatic shift from Moorish minarets, and not universally loved.
Director H. Harvard Arnason, who wrote The History of Modern Art and chaired the University of Minnesota art department, took the Walker helm in 1951; his many contributions reflected his commitments to modernism and academia. Arnason focused on acquiring additional modern works, especially sculpture, and organizing large-scale surveys and solo-artist exhibitions.
Under the directorship of Martin Friedman, who began his 30-year tenure in 1961, the Walker gained national prominence by collecting and exhibiting modern and contemporary art and formalizing programs in performing arts and film. In 1963, on adjacent land provided by the T. B. Walker Foundation, the celebrated Tyrone Guthrie Theater opened. In the late 1960s, the exhibition program began to outgrow the spaces. Architect Edward Larrabee Barnes was selected to design a cubical, minimalist exterior with a surface of geometric red brick that did not compete with the art, emphasized by interior loftlike spaces that were appropriate to large-scale work of the time. The new Walker building opened in 1971. In 1983, Barnes again applied his minimalist logic, designing a $5.2-million addition that opened after 19 months of construction by Minneapolis firms Hammel, Green and Abrahamson, Inc. and M. A. Mortenson Company.
In 1991, Kathy Halbreich, previously the contemporary art curator at Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts, became the Walker’s fourth director. In addition to continuing the Walker’s role as a national center for contemporary art and expanding the number of traveling exhibitions organized by Walker curators and new performing arts commissions, Halbreich made an important commitment to reaching new, often underserved, audiences. In 2001, she began the expansion efforts to enlarge the Walker in order to house and exhibit its growing collection. The renowned Swiss architectural firm of Herzog & de Meuron was selected to design the expanded facility, a model 21st-century arts center that opened in 2005.
In early 2008, Olga Viso began her tenure as executive director of the Walker after directing the Smithsonian’s Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, where she distinguished herself as a curator, scholar, and administrator. She was elected to the boards of the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, New York (2008) and the American Association of Museum Directors (2009).
Minneapolis Sculpture Garden
Another major moment in the Walker’s history, was the development of the very popular Minneapolis Sculpture Garden in cooperation with the Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board. Around the turn of the century, the land across Vineland Place housed the Kenwood Armory, a large brick building used for shows, fights, and even a John Philip Sousa performance. Its poor foundation led to its demise in 1933, but the formal flower beds next to it, called the Armory Gardens, were deeded to the Minneapolis Park Board and maintained until 1966, when Highway I-94 dissected the area.
Barnes’s skill as a designer was again called upon, and in September 1988, 20,000 people attended the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden’s opening weekend. The 7.5-acre landscape blends formal and informal, temporary and permanent, and is graced by the Cowles Conservatory, which houses Frank Gehry’s Standing Glass Fish, and the fountain-sculpture destined to become an icon for Minneapolis itself: Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen’s Spoonbridge and Cherry. In 1990, four more acres were added to the Garden, and the expansion was designed by Massachusetts-based Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, Inc. It has proved a popular site for performances, community celebrations, and weddings, not to mention the casual walks and talks of museum visitors, neighbors, and urban wanderers.
Volunteer Program Information
The volunteer program is designed to enhance the experience of Walker visitors and to assist in the pursuit of the Walker’s mission. Volunteers will provide quality customer service by creating a friendly, welcoming environment, and aid visitors in creating a unique and customized experience. Volunteers are expected to exhibit professional work habits while following the direction of supervising Walker staff and Walker workplace policies.
- Communicate via e-mail. If you don’t have access to it or are not comfortable with this method, please notify the volunteer coordinator to discuss an alternate way to receive information. Please remember to check you spam email folder as occasional Shiftboard emails may end up there.
- Use dependable transportation to ensure on-time arrival for assignment.
- Attend required orientations and complete background check when required prior to assignment.
- Use the Walker’s scheduling system to communicate availability when requested and review posted schedule.
- Demonstrate a cooperative, friendly, professional manner when dealing with museum visitors, staff, and fellow volunteers.
- Be informed and promote the Walker and its exhibitions, programs, and events.
- Be professional, neat, and clean in appearance. Neat-casual or business-casual is recommended attire. Volunteers should not wear jeans, low-cut shirts, high hemlines, clothes with holes, graphic T-shirts, or clothing with logos.
Program Policies and Procedures
- Please arrive on time or early for your shift. Shifts are scheduled with the expectation that you will arrive prepared to begin.
- When you arrive for your shift, sign in at the Bazinet Box Office in the Volunteer check-in binder or if you have been informed of an alternate check-in point from the Event Manager proceed to that location. The location and contact person will be discussed ahead of time at your program orientation or in an e-mail.
- All personal belongings may be stored in lockers during your shift with a quarter deposit.
- When your volunteer assignment is complete, check out with the event manager.
- To access the Walker before or after hours, please use the Control Center located at the south side of the building off of Groveland Terrace.
- Engagement with a vibrant arts community
- Enjoy Walker programming
- Opportunities to participate in special social events and volunteer appreciation days
- Discounts on performances and events (select programs)
- Eligibility to participate in Walker Rewards program (select programs)
The Walker Rewards program allows volunteers to trade their volunteer hours for select tickets to Performing Arts, Films, Mini Golf, Rock the Garden, and Visual Arts exhibitions.
Volunteer programs that are not eligible for Walker Rewards are Tour Guide, Information Guide, Intern, and Rock the Garden as they already receive special staff offers and complimentary tickets. Volunteers do not receive points for attending trainings or Welcome Orientations.
Volunteers earn one reward point for each hour volunteered. All hours are rounded up. Hours are tallied at the beginning of each calendar month and timecards are sent via email each month. Rewards points expire at the end of every fiscal year (June 30).
All volunteers will wear identification—T-shirt, sticker, badge—which will be issued by the event manager and worn every time you are on duty.
Be professional, neat, and clean in appearance. Neat-casual or business-casual is recommended attire. Volunteers should not wear jeans, low-cut shirts, high hemlines, clothes with holes, graphic T-shirts, or clothing with logos.
In the event that you cannot make the shift for which you are scheduled, please provide 24 hours-notice before your scheduled shift. Please e-mail email@example.com to inform our staff. Leave your full name, shift time and position for which you are scheduled. If it is an emergency within less than 24 hours or if you don’t have access to email, please call the box office at 612-375-7600 to speak to a Walker Associate.
Failure to inform our staff of your inability to make your scheduled shift before your shift starts (other than a Rock the Garden shift) more than two times will exclude you from future volunteer opportunities at the Walker Art Center.
Failure to inform our staff of your inability to make any Rock the Garden shift before your shift starts will make you in ineligible to volunteer for future Rock the Garden events.
A volunteer may be dismissed from an assignment for the following reasons:
- Failure to show up for a shift more than two times without prior notification.
- Leaving early or arriving late for shift more than two times without prior notification.
- Inappropriate behavior.
- Alcohol or drug use.
- A determination that the available volunteer duties are not currently a good match for the volunteer. This decision is at the discretion of the volunteer coordinator.
Walker membership is strongly encouraged for all volunteers. A $10 discount on any level of membership is offered after your first volunteer shift. You can learn more about membership here.
Alcohol or Controlled Substances
The Walker provides a safe and drug- and alcohol-free work environment. The use, possession, distribution, sale, or manufacture of illegal drugs while on the Walker’s property is prohibited. You are required to report for your assignment in appropriate mental and physical condition.
Please direct visitors to fill out comment cards located at either box office. If they are unable do so, offer to write their concern(s) for them.
Direct any of your own questions, concerns, or suggestions for improvement to Kristen Andring, Visitor Services Specialist, Volunteer Coordinator to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- My Account will allow you to update your contact information with personal information such as address, phone, and emergency contact.
- Account toolbox gives you quick way to view your shifts.
Profile allows you to provide supplemental information about yourself, such as birthday and T-shirt size.
- The Teams setting will show you the volunteer programs for which you are currently active, and if you are interested in joining another team so you may hear about other volunteer positions, you can do that here.
- You can set your schedule using the Availability tab (see Availability below) as requested.
View your Personal Schedule, shifts that are Available/Open, and shifts that are assigned. You can use the shared view to see the names of the volunteers already signed up for shifts if you want to sign up with friends.
Take a Shift
Go to the Calendar function on your dashboard. All Available/Open shifts are listed in red. Click on a shift to view details regarding time and location. Once you find the shift you are interested in, simply click on Take This Shift. Follow the prompts to Confirm This Time.
When you cannot make your shift or if you decide you no longer want the shift, you should unconfirm your shift. This can be done by clicking on your shift in the calendar and clicking the “unconfirm” button and then follow the prompts to unconfirm the shift.
Note: Not every volunteer program uses the Availability function in Shiftboard for scheduling purposes. However, if you are asked to use it for scheduling purposes, you will use the Availability tab. Choose from one of two ways to announce your availability:
- Since Shiftboard always assumes you are busy, you can set your General Availability first (i.e., I am usually available Thursday and Friday), then set your busy days within that general availability (i.e,. Friday 5/15).
- Add days that you are available. Choose whichever method works better for you! Be sure to click Add to save your entries.
Policies and Procedures
Customer Service Tips
Quality customer service is essential to providing a pleasant and remarkable experience to museum visitors. Your volunteer time is much more than just “helping out.” You are hosts; you are the Walker to the visitor.
How can we deliver excellent customer service?
- Make eye contact, smile and greet visitors as they approach.
- Don’t turn away or walk away as a guest approaches.
- Use age-appropriate greetings, and avoid using gendered greetings.
- Treat every person who walks through the door as a VIP.
- Be friendly and enthusiastic, but doesn’t need to be over the top.
- Understand the type of guest. Look and listen for subtle clues about their current mood, patience level, personality, etc.
- Some guests don’t want to talk, if you’re reading that, don’t force it.
- Different positions require this at different levels—if you’re an usher you don’t need to ask how you can help people, but you can welcome them, tell them to enjoy the show, and answer questions.
- Stay visible and available, but don’t hover.
- Never discuss a guest in front of other guests.
- If you don’t know the answer to a question, utilize “I don’t know, but I’ll find out.” Don’t guess; misinformation is worse than little information. Ask a staff member for more information.
- Consider the vantage point of the visitor; when you are giving hand directions, “speak” from the same place as the visitor.
- Guests with disabilities are the experts on their own needs. They will tell you what you need to do to help. Ask them and listen to what they say. Avoid making assumptions and take your lead from them.
- Don’t make assumptions about visitors’ interests. Be cautious of pointing someone towards an item you feel they would have a connection with based on their ethnicity.
- English as a second language: It’s helpful to slow down speech slightly, but not increase volume! Try to simplify the construction of sentences a little as well as avoiding jargon/slang.
Security and Emergency
- Control Center extension x7656
- If you are concerned about a situation that looks dangerous or could lead to injury of people or property, find and alert the nearest person on radio.
- For any injuries and all medical emergencies, locate the nearest person on radio or a Visitor Services associate at at the Box Office. All Walker employees have been trained to contact the Control Center for immediate assistance and filing accident reports.
- Staff members and volunteers are not to call 911. (911 will not be able to recognize the address from any other phone extension than security).
- First aid kits are located at the Walker box office.
- The security of the Walker and its collection is the responsibility of the security staff. Please alert them to any suspicious behavior and give them your full cooperation and respect at all times.
- In the case of a tornado or fire, listen carefully to the emergency announcement and locate the nearest Walker staff person for assistance or direction.
- All injuries on Walker property must be reported to the event manager, who will then inform the chief guard, the manager of security, and/or the manager of operations administration immediately after the accident/injury so that, if necessary, effective treatment can be provided and the required reports can be filed with the Walker’s insurance carrier for investigation and resolution.
Workplace Violence Prevention
The Walker respects and embraces the diversity of race, gender, ethnicity, religion, age, sexual orientation, physical or mental ability, culture, language, education, lifestyle, income, and personal values of its staff, visitors, and community partners.
It is the Walker’s practice to reduce prejudice in the workplace and move progressively toward its institutional mission and values of diversity and civic commitment.
The Walker encourages volunteers to take personal responsibility to acknowledge and remedy negative personal prejudices, biases, and stereotypes; recognize, respect, and value individual, social, and cultural differences; and demonstrate commitment to diversity.
The Walker is committed to providing a safe work environment for our volunteers. Violent behavior or threats of violence from visitors or other volunteers or staff is prohibited. The Walker does not tolerate physical altercations, verbal or written attacks, or the threat of the same in the workplace.
If you become aware of a potentially unsafe or threatening situation or are a victim of an abusive act while at the Walker, immediately seek appropriate treatment (medical or emotional) as necessary. Report the incident as soon as possible to your supervisor, the chief guard, the manager of security, or the manager of operations administration. The matter will be investigated promptly. Retaliation is strictly prohibited against anyone who reports a threatening or potentially violent incident.
The Walker does not permit weapons of any kind while volunteering/working either on the premises or while representing the Walker off-site. If you observe any person on the premises with a weapon, please inform the chief guard or the control center immediately.
Discrimination and Harassment
The Walker is committed to maintaining an environment free from unlawful discrimination and harassment, including unlawfully intimidating, hostile, or offensive conduct. Discrimination, harassment, and other inappropriate conduct based on sex, race, color, national origin, ancestry, religion, disability, age, sexual orientation, or any other unlawful basis will not be tolerated. Voice mail and electronic communications (such as e-mail and Internet use) are covered by this policy in the same manner as other communications and actions. Unlawful discrimination and/or harassment—whether committed by visitors, other volunteers, or staff is prohibited.
Prohibited Conduct: Prohibited conduct includes verbal, visual, or physical conduct that relates to another person’s sex, race, color, national origin, ancestry, religion, disability, age, sexual orientation, or other status protected by law, where such conduct may have the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working environment.
Sexual Harassment: Unwelcome advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitute sexual harassment and are prohibited where:
- Submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual’s volunteer opportunity; or
- Submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for decisions affecting such individual; or
- Such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with individual performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive volunteer environment.
Sexually harassing conduct may include, among other things, use of suggestive sexual comments, jokes, or innuendo; persistent, unwanted flirtation or invitations for dates or other social activities; unwelcome sexual advances or passes; sexual remarks or questions about a person’s body, clothing, or sexual activities; patting, pinching, or other offensive touching; or displays of sexually suggestive pictures or objects.
Volunteers who become aware of or are subject to discrimination or harassment should notify the volunteer program coordinator, the event supervisor, or the manager of security immediately.
Supervisors or managers who become aware of any incidents or alleged incidents of discrimination or harassment must immediately report them to Walker’s director of human resources, who will lead the investigation and resolution.
Confidentiality and non-retaliation: Reports of discrimination or harassment will be kept confidential to the extent possible and consistent with the need for a thorough investigation. The Walker will not retaliate or take any form of reprisal against any victim of or witness to discrimination or harassment, and any such retaliation or reprisal is forbidden.
Walker Art Center Information
Tuesday-Wednesday: 11 am- 5pm
Open late Thursday: 11 am–9 pm
Friday-Saturday: 11 am–6 pm
Sunday: 11 am–5 pm
The Walker is closed on most Mondays, July 4th, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day.
Tickets and Gallery Admission
Where to buy
- Call 612.375.7600 during regular museum hours.
- Buy online at walkerart.org/tickets anytime.
- Visit the Bazinet (main) lobby desk or Hennepin lobby desk during regular museum hours.
Where to pick up
- Tickets ordered on-site will be issued immediately
- Tickets ordered online over the phone will either be mailed upon request, sent via email, or held at the lobby desk on the day of the event.
- Tickets purchased online or over the phone will have the following additional ticket processing fees per ticket:
- $1.50 for Film Events
- $2.50 for Performing Arts events
- $2.50 for British Arrows Awards screenings
There are NO refunds or exchanges.
- Adults (nonmember) $15
- Seniors (nonmember) $13
- Students w/ID (nonmember) $10
- Active Military $7.50
- Children under 18 Free
- Members Free
- Thursdays from 5-9 pm Free
- Free First Saturdays from 10-6 Free
- Minneapolis Sculpture Garden Free
Free Gallery Admission with Performance or Film Ticket
Available to adults (nonmember) up to six months after the event for one gallery admission.
Phone Numbers and Contact Information
Walker Art Center
725 Vineland Place
Minneapolis, MN 55403
- Control Center (security): 612.375.7656
- Kristen Andring, Volunteer Coordinator: email@example.com, 612.253.3559
- Group Visits: 612.375.7609
- Volunteer Sick Line: firstname.lastname@example.org, 612.375.7600
- Information Line & Box Office: 612.375.7600
- Membership: 612.375.7655
- Shiftboard Scheduling Website: shiftboard.com/walkerartcenter
- Shop: 612.375.7633
- Special Events/Rentals: 612.375.3540
- Walker Fax: 612.375.7590
- Walker Website: walkerart.org
- Walker Volunteer Website: walkerart.org/volunteer