It’s a Small World After All

This past April, my husband Bob and I enjoyed a stopover in Prague, Czech Republic, prior to boarding our Viking River Cruise along the Danube. In the hotel lobby introductions were being made among the passengers and we met Nancy and Tom from Connecticut, who asked where we lived. When we announced we lived in Charleston, they became quite animated and told us how much they loved visiting our fair city and that they had been several times. They visited the Gibbes Museum of Art during their last visit in October 2010, and recalled touring an exhibit entitled Face Lift with “the most wonderful docent!”

Mrs. Johnson (Estelle), 1972

I told them that I worked as a docent at the Gibbes, and agreed that Face Lift was a really excellent exhibition. At that moment Nancy looked at me and said, “I think you were our docent!!!” Oh my gosh, my goodness, how startling!!! In the middle of Prague, the Gibbes had made a connection for us. Nancy jumped up and gave me a great big hug. When I asked her if I made her pose, hand on hip with a great deal of ‘tude in front of the portrait of Mrs. Estelle Johnson, she shrieked “Yes, you did!” And that is how we became friends and laughed together for the rest of the trip—agreeing that yes indeed, it is a small world.

—Susan Wallen, Gibbes Museum Docent

Susan Wallen

Susan Wallen is a docent at the Gibbes Museum of Art.

Docent-led tours are offered free with admission at the Gibbes Museum of Art every Friday at 2:30pm.

A version of this story was published in Charleston Currents on May 26, 2011.

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