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The Art of Volunteering

For 50 years, Allan Maitlin has devoted himself to the Zimmerli Art Museum, helping it become one of the nation’s largest university museums.

Allan Maitlin
Allan Maitlin has donated more than 200 works of art to the Jane Voorhees Zimmerli Art Museum’s ever-growing collection. He is also the founding chair of the museum’s board of overseers. Photography by Nick Romanenko

Allan Maitlin’s close ties to Rutgers have lasted far longer than the four years he spent on campus. For more than five decades, Maitlin RC’58 has devoted his time and energy to a variety of university projects, including the Jane Voorhees Zimmerli Art Museum’s transformation. He first got involved in the museum’s early days, back when it was only a single gallery room featuring artwork donated by alumni. Seeing the potential for growth, he has helped it become one of the largest university museums in the country and home to many important collections.

In addition to serving as the founding chair of the museum’s board of overseers, Maitlin has donated more than 200 works of art to the Zimmerli’s ever-growing collection. Now home to 60,000-plus works, the museum has become a popular destination for students, Maitlin says, something he and his fellow volunteers have been thrilled to observe. “On a lot of college campuses, hardly any students go into the museums,” he says. “Here, the Zimmerli has really become a focal point. Students come in all the time to use the museum, and we even have an undergraduate advisory committee.”

For those who haven’t visited the Zimmerli, Maitlin recommends stopping by as soon as possible and allowing plenty of time to soak it in. “Once you see it,” he adds, “you’ll say two things: First, ‘I have to come back here and bring my friends,’ and second, ‘Why didn’t I know about this place?’ We’re working on that second part right now.”

                                                                                                                                                            — Molly Petrilla