Retired teacher's classroom is now the Detroit Institute of Arts - FOX 32 News Chicago

Retired teacher's classroom is now the Detroit Institute of Arts

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Retired teacher Barbara Goldsmith volunteers at the DIA.  (Credit: WJBK | myFOXDetroit.com) Retired teacher Barbara Goldsmith volunteers at the DIA. (Credit: WJBK | myFOXDetroit.com)
DETROIT (WJBK) -

In the middle of a group of young people, a voice guides and educates like she's done for many decades.

Barbara Goldsmith is a retired teacher that gave 28 years to the kids of Oak Park High School.  Now her classroom is one of the top culture museums in the United States, the Detroit Institute of Arts.

"I think that it makes them more aware of how to look at things.  One of the things that happen[s] to kids is they're so used to television where everything is done for them or they're used to texting," said Goldsmith.

This 81-year-old has been volunteering for 26 years with the DIA, and she gives her time, free of charge, to a place that inspired her as a little girl.

"When I was a little girl, I used to come here, I used to come here with a campfire group.  I used to come here with school, and while I wish I remembered art, which I didn't remember, but I always remembered that stairway.  That stairway fascinated me," Goldsmith said.  "It's a circular stairway and you can go all the way down and then you can come all the way up, and it was great when I was a kid."

An average of 400,000 people visit the DIA every year.  The employee around 300 people on staff and that does not include the over 700 volunteers like Goldsmith.

For her, the DIA is more than a museum.  It's like home.

"It's given me a tremendous amount of knowledge, a tremendous amount of training, and I've made wonderful friends.  I mean, I've made friends that I'm friends with now for years and years.  It's not just what you give the museum, it's what the museum gives you, as well."

DIA volunteers serve in a variety of roles within the museum.  Some assist visitors in galleries, while others staff the information desks.  To learn more about  becoming a DIA volunteer, visit www.dia.org/get-involved/volunteer.aspx.

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