By Roxanna Petrus
This post will discuss just what it is like to be a volunteer for a small museum like the Summerville Dorchester Museum
Museums are so vitally important to our culture in that they serve as not only informational and educational hubs but also places where people can interact with the natural world and the past, sometimes at the same time.
If we did not have museums where would all of our precious artifacts go?
- They would either go in storage locked away and forgotten
- Or, they would crumble and wither, their history disappearing with them.
For these reasons, a public museum is an institution that must be protected and maintained. Now you may be asking, how can I help do this? Well, one of the best ways to help museums like our very own Summerville Dorchester Museum stay open, is to volunteer your time.
What is involved in being a volunteer for a small museum?
- You can volunteer in any number of ways, from being a docent or tour guide to handing out fliers at community events and collecting donations.
- Volunteers pitch in where needed as often the museum is not fully staffed.
- Volunteers receive training and attend museum related events to be more effective in representing the museum.
Lets look at the position of docent first. This volunteer position is such an important position as docents are who showcase all of the history and exhibits in the museum for our visitors. They serve as educators and can help make the museum a lively and engaging experience, not just a static image of the past but a portal to that time and place. They do this through exciting, accurate accounts and personal stories, asking questions and demonstrations.
At the Summerville Dorchester Museum, we are often in need of tour guides for school groups during the week. It can get crowded in our little aisles, so we need lots of lively but quick guides to navigate the groups through without over crowding or bored students. This is why we always welcome former educators to volunteer as docents.
Kids’ History Club is another program at our little museum that always needs volunteers too. Kids’ History Club sets up events for kids around town and at the museum involving an element of Summerville or Dorchester County history. An example would be, a talk and demonstration by local weatherman Rob Fowler about Summerville weather, and a talk with a fossil expert with fossil samples found in our area. These events often need ticket takers and people to set up the event.
With out a doubt, the small museum relies on its volunteers to maintain a presence in the community and remain viable. The Summerville Dorchester Museum would not be able to keep all of its programs like the Kids’ History Club and tours going without them. We definitely appreciate and cherish all of our volunteers and often consider them a part of our museum family.