About 70 present and former Farnsworth Art Museum volunteers honored Janice Kasper, for 18 years the much beloved and admired curator of historic houses (Olson House in Cushing and the Farnsworth Homestead in Rockland).

The event, held at the waterfront home of Jim and Carese Parker in South Thomaston on July 18, began with socializing and a potluck dinner, followed by the presentation of gifts. Diana Dube of Damariscotta gave a short series of anecdotes concerning her experiences as Kasper’s first hire at the museum.

Docent and volunteer Jack Farlow of Waldoboro presented the following appreciation of what Kasper has meant to the museum volunteers over her long period of service.

Janice Kasper: An Appreciation

Welcome to you all. Let me begin with an understatement: we are here tonight to celebrate one of the finest human beings we have ever met, Janice Kasper.

She is an accomplished artist: who of us will ever forget her larger works such as the painting “Cows or Condos?” or the wonderfully illustrated cards on which she sent us those many personal notes?

Janice is an incredible role model for the docents, and can tune her presentation to any group, no matter how unlikely (or difficult!) its composition. Everyone walks away thinking, “How interesting and informative!” Whenever I see a ceiling, gas fixture now, I always think about Janice’s modest ankles!

She epitomizes the phrase “A job well done!” with her thoughtfulness and extraordinary attention to detail. Her organization and friendly management of us volunteers at both Homestead and Olson House was as carefully planned and carried out as her decoration of the Christmas tree (with its magic pickle!).

Over almost two decades Janice has demonstrated her thoughtful care of both the Farnsworth Art Museum and the many people there. Who among us has not been grateful to receive her encouragement and recognition? Janice is a friend who has helped us all, from the custodians to the extraordinary donors and artists: “From each according to their abilities, and to each according to their needs.”

She cared about (and for!) the gardens at both the historic houses, and saw that the vases were always filled with cheerful flowers. At Olson House Janice even balanced the books, and ensured that store supplies were there in suitable quantities. She found substitutes for interpreters or came herself in emergencies.

Janice kept her eyes open for things that needed to be done throughout the museum. She helped set up and take down the elaborate Christmas displays in the church and main building. She organized volunteers to make decorations. She arranged for “Victorian Christmases” at Homestead. She laid flowers on the graves at the Farnsworth cemetery. She even carried out historic and architectural tours of downtown Rockland!

Janice, I’ve learned so much from you over the years and am proud to know you as such a wonderful friend. I think most of us here feel the same way.

We all have missed you lately, but are delighted to have the chance to see you again this evening. All of us would like to celebrate you at this gathering and dinner, and to offer you these small tokens of our esteem and friendship. Please accept them with our gratitude for the privilege of getting to know the ever-so-special you!