Celebrating 41 Years at the Museum: Louise Maio

Louise Maio

From the colorful Student Art Show and Holiday Open House, to elegant exhibition openings and Meet the Artist events, all of the Museum’s public programs have one common thread. Each has been efficiently and lovingly organized and executed by Louise Maio, the Museum’s public program planner.

You may not have officially met Louise, but if you’ve attended even one Museum program, you’ve experienced the incredible energy, dedication, and mind-blowing organization that Louise has poured into every function she’s planned. You may have even seen her, walking purposefully throughout each event, making sure that it’s running smoothly, stopping only to smile at guests and make sure they’re enjoying their experiences.

If you happen to see her today, however, she might look a little different. Perhaps a little more relaxed. A little less busy. But just as purposeful. Today marks the beginning of Louise’s next adventure: retirement.

Louise (right) with Ernestine Kyles in 1977

Louise (right) with Ernestine Kyles in 1977

Louise has been at the Museum almost from the beginning. When she joined the Museum, the staff was comprised of only 12 people. Currently, the Museum employs more than 150. To Louise, the growth and expansion has been “amazing to watch.”  She recounted her start with the Museum: “when I was in High School, I took Business courses and Secretarial Practice. In our Secretarial course, Corning Incorporated came over and tested all of us and gave us interviews at various Corning facilities. I was very fortunate that one of my interviews was at The Corning Museum of Glass.”

Louise’s first position at the Museum was helping Jane Shadel Spillman, who at the time was a Research Assistant (she recently retired from her position as curator of American Glass). Labeling slides and other clerical tasks filled Louise’s days. She was soon promoted to the Secretary of the Education Department. “We had a loan department that sent out slide shows to schools, colleges, and clubs, says Louise. “We had films that we sent out as well.” It was an interesting job, and she was soon involved in a number of educational programs, including Junior Curators, for which Louise typed up the monthly newsletter.

Over her years at the Museum, Louise took on more and more responsibility for the public programs. Today, she is the driving force behind almost every large-scale (and small-scale) event offered by the Museum. As she leaves her position to spend more time with her family, we need to make sure she knows just how much she will be missed, and how very much her contributions to the Museum have impacted so many lives.

Having fun at 2300°

Having fun at 2300°

Louise made it clear though, that the true reward for her has been “to watch the excitement on the children’s faces and to have the grandparents, parents come up and say “Thank You.” With the many events that Louise has orchestrated, her involvement in events for children have really been the cornerstone of her career. “I love doing events for children,” says Louise. “I love the Student Art Show and Holiday Open House. I love the Family Nights. I love meeting people and seeing people who come year after year to our events.”

Louise presenting awards at the Student Art Show

Louise presenting awards at the Student Art Show, 2013

Not only has she organized all of these events, she has also championed for new offerings, like the scholarships offered at the Student Art Show each year. “The first time I asked if we could give scholarship out at the Student Art Show, I was told that we could if I could raise the money, so I asked for donations from our docents, volunteers, staff, etc. and I was able to raise enough money to give two winners $150 each,” says Louise. “The following year, David Whitehouse decided to put money in the budget for the scholarships. Today we give three winners $600 each.”

Louise (right) and Tina Snow (left) with Eric Childers at A Many Splendored Evening

Louise (right) and Tina Snow (left) with Eric Childers at A Many Splendored Evening

The joys of children’s events are many for Louise, but one of her other favorites was “Many Splendored Evening.” “It was black tie, we had about 10 restaurants to provide the food (guests would go from gallery to gallery for food) and we had about 10 wineries who provided the wine,” Louise remembers fondly. “The evening ended in the auditorium with dancing until 1am. This was definitely the “Gala” event of the year. And I loved every minute.”

As she transitions out of her role at the Museum, Louise may not plan as many galas, but no one doubts that she will remain busy. It’s in her blood. While she is excited to spend time with her family, especially her grandkids, she fully intends to keep moving, planning events with the local schools and children. Everyone at the Museum will miss her deeply, but we can’t wait to see what she has planned for this next phase in her life, and we wish her the absolute best of luck!

At the Annual Seminar on Glass registration table in 1981

At the Annual Seminar on Glass, 1981

Five Fun Facts about Louise’s Career: 

  1. She had 18 bosses
  2. She moved her office 4 times from 1966 – 1971
  3. She moved her office 12 times from 1977 – 2013
  4. Every 2.5 years she moved
  5. Every 2.5 years she got a new boss

She has worked on almost every program offered at the Museum at some point during her career. These have included:

Louise cuts the cake at the 10th Anniversary of 2300°

Louise cuts the cake at the 10th Anniversary of 2300°, 2010