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Holiday Open House

12.01.2018 - 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm

Enjoy a Saturday afternoon of holiday cheer at the 23rd annual Holiday Open House. Activities include festive studio activities, performances by local school choirs, and carriage rides. Read More

Holiday Open House

12.02.2017 - 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm

Join us for an afternoon of holiday cheer at the 22nd annual Holiday Open House. This event is free and open to the public; however, we encourage you to bring a new, unwrapped toy for Toys for Tots or canned goods for the Montgomery Area Food Bank.

Activities include performances by local school choirs, festive studio activities, and carriage rides. The galleries will be open, as will ARTWORKS. Be on the lookout for a certain red-suited guest who will listen to all holiday wishes!

This event is sponsored by BBVA Compass.

Holiday Open House—Welcome the Season at the MMFA

HOH.BlogJoin your neighbors and friends at the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts for Holiday Open House, an afternoon of merriment and holiday cheer. This annual event will be held next Saturday, December 5, from 1 to 4 P.M. This is a family-friendly tradition filled with seasonal art activities for children, musical performances provided by schools in the River Region, and a whole lot more.

HOH.Blog.1Of course Santa will be on hand to hear what’s on each child’s secret “list,” and pose for that special picture. Take advantage of what is expected to be beautiful weather by enjoying a horse-drawn carriage ride through the Museum grounds. Pick up a festive cookie or two as you sample some hot apple cider or lemonade. Children of all ages can take part in holiday art projects and make something to take home.  They might paint a one-of-a-kind plastic ornament in the Museum studios, or make traditional Reindeer Feed Bags. Our amazing docents will be on hand to answer questions you may have as you explore our permanent and special exhibitions including Once & Again: Still Lifes by Beth Lipman and Retooled: Highlights from the Hechinger Collection.HOH.Blog.4

Remember, this event is the Museum’s FREE gift to the community. In return, we hope everyone attending will bring non-perishable items for the Montgomery Area Food Bank, and unwrapped toys for Toys for Tots to fill the bins we have located in the foyer. Your gifts will make the holiday season a bit brighter for local families in need.

So, come by this Saturday afternoon and experience Holiday Open House.  It’s a great way to kick off your own celebration of the Season!HOH.Blog.3

Cynthia Milledge
Director of  Public RelationsHOH.Blog.2


Holiday Open House 2014

HOH_2332blogOn the afternoon of Saturday, December 6th, the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts was alive with music, laughter, song and good cheer as more than 1, 000 people celebrated the 19th annual Holiday Open House.

While the event was free, guests brought donations of food for the Montgomery Area Food Bank and toys for Toys for Tots to fill the barrels in the foyer.

HOH_528blogHorse and carriage rides took delighted guests through the park. Docents were on hand to lead discussions of several of the Museum’s exhibitions. Everyone enjoyed the musical performances by BTW Piano students, Carr Middle School, Phillip Perry Private Lesson Students, Brewbaker Middle School & Trinity High School.HOH_2261blog

Sounds of “there he is!” could be heard as children spotted Santa on his huge red chair waiting to listen to their wishes.

HOH_2308blogChildren of all ages left the studios with a variety of art projects: decorated reindeer food bags, ornaments made by painting juice cans lids, centerpieces created from fruit juice cans covered with holiday wrap holding spruce & holly while the frames of slides of landscapes, portraits & still lifes were decorated and three attached together.

Over 120 dozen cookies made by volunteers, staff, Chappy’s Deli & The Fresh Market were consumed along with gallons of lemonade and hot cider.

All agreed this was a great way to get into the holiday spirit!

Gloria Simons
Volunteer Coordinator





Donna Pickens is Moving On

BlogonDonnaDespite pleas from her co-workers, Donna Pickens retired from her more-than-fulltime position as Assistant Curator of Education for ARTWORKS, School, Family & Children’s Programs at the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts in December.

For 11 years, she designed the Museum’s studio programs and supervised the staff that delivered countless hands-on art lessons for children and adults. Donna co-authored the Museum’s well-respected fifth-grade tour curriculum, and she helped to organize family days and special events like Holiday Open House and the Flimp Festival. In addition, she managed the Museum’s ARTWORKS hands-on galleries (for which she created some of the exhibits), and she coordinated dozens of ARTWORKS corridor exhibitions of student art that were always cued to the Museum’s temporary exhibitions in order to help students explore the themes, techniques, and materials on display in the Museum’s galleries. Twice the U. S. Department of Education chose student art from Donna’s programs for a national exhibition in Washington, DC that was co-sponsored by the Association of Art Museum Directors.

In recent years Donna created a new, yearlong, artist-in-residence program for third and fourth graders at Wares Ferry Road Elementary using pilot-project funding from the Hearst Foundations and the National Endowment for the Arts. She designed (and staffed and supervised) a solid program that utilizes Visual Thinking Strategies to improve students’ creativity, perceptions, and verbal abilities. She also expanded the Museum’s outreach programs, adding one for the Alabama Department of Youth Services at Mt. Meigs that officials now seek to duplicate at other facilities.BlogPost.DonnaP

Donna’s engagement with adult artists was similarly deep and broad. She taught and coordinated countless evening and weekend workshops, including ARTtalk (with the Montgomery Art Guild), and Art Ed Central (with and for local art teachers). She has also coordinated a robust range of lessons for the annual Alabama Art Education Association meetings at the MMFA, and she has been active in national arts education organizations as well.

Museum director Mark Johnson said, “We will all miss Donna and her creativity, perseverance, and passion for art and art education. We are grateful for her decade of service to this Museum and our community and we wish her the best in her retirement.”

Donna earned an MFA at Georgia State University and taught art in Atlanta for nearly three decades before moving to Montgomery. She is an accomplished sculptor with public art commissions and an artist who has mastered a wide variety of techniques and materials. She looks forward to flexing her artistic muscles in retirement, while spending more time with family and friends.

Fortunately for Museum staff and visitors, Donna has agreed to continue working a couple of days a week for several months to sustain the popular Museum programs we have all come to expect. So, please wish Donna a happy retirement when you see her. But don’t dawdle. She’s got grandchildren to see and art to make.

Michael Panhorst
Curator of Art

Conversations with New Docents

At the MMFA, docents are volunteer guides who attend in-depth training sessions in order to provide tour services for visitors the Museum.  They also participate in guest lectures, supplemental programs, and support the Museum by maintaining current Museum membership. They come from diverse backgrounds and careers, have different levels of experience with art, and exhibit a variety of fine talents. The positive and professional group of incoming docents for 2014–2015 has already started leading tours and integrating themselves into the fabric of the Museum. Conversations with these volunteers reveal their passion for learning about art, their enthusiasm for engaging with young people, and their enjoyment of interaction with other docents and Museum staff. They are people who are willing to go above and beyond to serve their community.  My conversations with the new docent class are summarized below.



Julie GoolsbyJulie_Goolsby-blog

Julie was motivated to become a docent when she noticed her third grade students’ responses to the paintings at the MMFA. She was impressed by their excitement at visiting the museum as well as their insightful interpretations of the artwork. Julie enjoys learning about different artists, talking about paintings, and meeting new friends. She loves children and is obviously very excited about participating in the docent program.


Phyllis_Hall-blogPhyllis Hall

Although Phyllis has no formal background in art, she has always loved and appreciated the beauty of art, whether traditional or unorthodox. Jeannette Siegers, a volunteer at MMFA, recognized Phyllis’ love of literature and encouraged her to come on board at the Museum. After taking an online look at the program, Phyllis contacted Alice Novak, who encouraged her to visit the Museum and to sit in on a discussion session. Phyllis enjoys the docent training, in particular hearing the stories behind the compositions, learning how different time periods of art history are reflected in the artists’ works, and mostly just learning in depth about art from a more technical standpoint.


 Andy HuffmanAndy_Huffman-blog

It was at MMFA’s annual FLIMP Festival in May 2014 that Andy and her mother found out about the docent program from Pam Moulton, a long-serving docent. Interested, they decided to come and sit in on a training session. They liked what they heard and saw. Andy has been drawing most of her life and started painting in the 8th grade, or for about ten years now. As a painter, she enjoys learning about art and gaining inspiration for new styles and new subject matter with which to experiment. Moreover, she enjoys interacting with her fellow trainees as well as with children and adults. Andy considers her style of painting realistic; however, she is becoming drawn to the impressionist style.


Dorothy_Johnson-blogDorothy Johnson

Dorothy worked as an auditor with the Federal Government while traveling with her husband Dennis, who spent 22 years as a Commander in the U.S. Navy. When they returned to Montgomery in 1992, she began working at the Alabama State Bar, retiring from that position in August of 2014. Her friend Margaret Lynne Ausfeld, MMFA’s Curator of Art, suggested that Dorothy consider becoming a docent. She enjoys the training, especially the historical lessons behind the art, and now finds herself reading a lot more about history.


Rosemary McKenzieRosemary_McKenzie-blog

As a child, Rosemary traveled with her parents a lot, and they always visited museums. In college, she took art history courses and went to Europe where she was exposed to the art there. Previously, she was a docent in Laurel, Mississippi and loved the experience. When she moved here, her next door neighbor suggested that, because Rosemary loved art, she should consider becoming a docent at MMFA. She loves learning and talking about art, taking it apart piece by piece and examining the details. Rosemary was impressed by how many people came to the Museum for the recent Holiday Open House.


Nancy_Moss-blogNancy Moss

Nancy had never thought about being a docent before she came to the Museum’s book club, Ekphrasis, and listened as docents were talking about their experiences. There definitely was an air of excitement and sincerity, so she decided to give it a try. Nancy enjoys learning about art, for she knew very little before. Having retired, she has more time to think about art. She believes the MMFA is truly a public place, reaching out to all people of different age groups.


Mary Lil OwensMaryLil_Owens-blog

Mary Lil took two art history courses during her senior year of college—as an afterthought. She has always loved art and that is one reason she was interested in becoming a docent. She enjoys the art history lectures and discussions, and seeing the artwork “up close and personal” is wonderful. The MMFA, she notes, offers many opportunities for people to get involved. Clearly, the Museum is here for the community. Formerly, Mary Lil was a high school English teacher, track coach, (she was on the track team in high school), and lawyer.


Laura_Roth-blogLaura Roth

At the MMFA’s Ekphrasis book club meetings and a couple of short courses, Laura met some docents who encouraged her to become involved in the program. Her two sisters love art, and she has visited several well-known museums. Participating in the docent program, Laura loves learning the history of the paintings and finds the stories interesting. For twenty-five years, she was a teacher of third and fourth graders.


Penny ThompsonPenny_Thompson-blog

A former school librarian, Penny has much experience working with students. Thus far in her training, she has presented some Outreach sessions and is amazed at what students have to say about the art. Penny considers it a pleasure to visit the public school classrooms because the children are excited about coming to the MMFA. She loves listening to Alice Novak’s lectures, and enjoys learning in such a beautiful environment.


Eleanor Lee
New Docent Liaison



Help us better serve our community. Your gift of time is a great way to meet new people, develop new skills, and support the Museum.

Volunteers learn more about the Museum with a thorough orientation and training. You can create your own schedule, engage with the public or help behind the scenes, and meet artists from throughout the region, all while enjoying fellowship with other volunteers.


If you want to make a difference in your community, please complete the form at the link below:

General Volunteer Opportunities

Welcome Desk

In the foyer, volunteers greet the public, direct visitors, and answer questions about current programs.

Staff Assistance

Volunteers support the ongoing activities of the Museum, assisting staff with behind-the-scenes office or event projects.

Special Event Opportunities

Art Auction

Presented by the Art Auction Acquisition Committee, a biennial spring fundraiser and gala that benefits the Museum’s future acquisitions, exhibitions, and educational programs through silent and live auctions. Learn More

Native American Family Day

This family event celebrates the rich cultural heritage of the Poarch Band of Creek Indians with art-making activities, traditional dance performances, tribal drumming, and artisan demonstrations. Learn More

Flimp Festival

An annual spring family festival of whimsy and wonder that celebrates the imagination and creativity through art-making activities, a chalk art competition, and musical performances. Learn More

Military Open House

The Museum’s way of honoring our servicemen and women, this event invites active-duty and reserve military, veterans, and their immediate families for a summer evening of art-making, music, and dinner. Learn More

Artist Market

An annual fall event featuring local and regional artists that offers visitors the opportunity to purchase handcrafted one-of-a-kind works. Learn More

Holiday Open House

An afternoon of merriment and cheer, this Museum tradition offers seasonal art activities for the whole family and choral performances by River Region students. Learn More


The docent volunteer program is a year-long program within the Museum’s education department that prepares docents to present adult tours, school tours, studio activities, ArtWorks presentations, and outreach programs. Click here to learn more.


For more information about volunteering at the Museum, please contact the Volunteer Coordinator at or 334.625.4349.

Press Room

Press Releases

For press inquiries, please contact Cynthia Milledge, Public Relations and Marketing Director at 334.625.4369 or email

OnExhibit Archive

OnExhibit is our quarterly magazine for Museum Members. The magazine features information about current and upcoming exhibitions, programs, and events.

Annual Reports

Second Sundays


Families and friends are invited to spend the second Sunday of each month at the Museum enjoying the sounds of live music, making an art project in the studio, or taking a short docent-led tour—or all three!

Upcoming Dates

Sunday, January 12
Drop-in between 2 and 4 PM

Create: Listen and watch an African-inspired dancing and drum circle and make your own African-inspired mask, inspired by the ones featured in our Women in African Art exhibition.

Enjoy: Check back soon for details about the band/musician that will perform.

Discover: Docents will lead you in exploring the works on view in Women in African Art during this free, 20-minute tour. Tours will begin every half-hour in the Museum’s lobby.

Sunday, February 9
Drop-in between 2 and 4 PM

Create: Come and make a print in our studio inspired by works in the Hans Grohs exhibition.

Enjoy: Check back soon for details about the band/musician that will perform.

Discover: Docents will lead you in exploring the works of Hans Grohs during this free, 20-minute tour. Tours will begin every half-hour in the Museum’s lobby.

Sunday, March 8
Drop-in between 2 and 4 PM

Create: Explore the Museum’s Pieces and Patterns quilt exhibition, then come visit the studio to create your own work inspired by those on view.

Enjoy: Check back soon for details about the band/musician that will perform.

Discover: Docents will lead you in exploring the quilts on view in Pieces and Patterns during this free, 20-minute tour. Tours will begin every half-hour in the Museum’s lobby.


Series sponsored by Trustmark.

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