Nestled on the grounds of Southern Methodist University is one of Dallas’ hidden treasures – the Meadows Museum. The man with the map to that treasure is volunteer Max Hibbs.

Since the fall of 1992, Hibbs has been a volunteer speaker for the museum. He frequently presents slide shows and talks to service organizations, corporations, garden clubs and others interested in learning about the museum.

The Meadows Museum opened in 1965 and houses one of the most comprehensive collections of Spanish art in the world outside of Spain. The permanent collection includes masterworks by artists dating from the Middle Ages through the 20th century.

A neighborhood resident, Hibbs, received a masters degree from SMU in 1977, so he was familiar with the museum and its collection of artwork by Velasquez, Goya and Picasso.

Algur Hurtle Meadows, a successful businessman in the oil industry and an avid art collector donated his collection of Spanish art to SMU. He also provided funds for a building to house the paintings.

“Every time Max goes out, I get cards and letters saying what an asset he is,” says Marilyn Spencer, volunteer coordinator of the Meadows Museum. “He’s really something special.”

Hibbs is no stranger to the Dallas speaker’s circuit. In 1985, he made his first presentation to a group of engineers on behalf of the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Society. He also is an active participant in the International Good Neighbor Council, an organization that promotes friendly relations between the United States and Mexico. He also coordinates a weekly book review series for Highland Park United Methodist Church each summer.

“When I retired, I decided I would not do anything for money,” says Hibbs, who has been married to wife Helena for 55 years. “That way, I can make my own schedule and do things when I’m available.”

Groups that would like to learn more about the Meadows Museum can schedule a speaker by calling Spencer at 768-2516.

Other volunteers at the Meadows Museum serve as docents. Training for tour guides begins Sept. 6. Spencer says no experience is necessary, just a willingness to learn and a desire to share the arts with museum visitors.

Volunteers also are needed to work in the office of the museum, greeting visitors, answering telephones and assisting with data entry. For more information, call the Volunteer Center of Dallas at 826-6767.


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