Volunteers key to running a successful museum
By Jessica Lynds
With history being the focus of my studies at Saint Mary's University, my work at the Colchester Historeum this summer has been a wonderful chance to put my experience to the test.
Throughout the summer I have had many lessons on what it takes to run a museum. One of my most important lessons learned was that volunteers are the real heroes that keep a museum running, whether they are here every day or simply baking sweets for various events.
Without volunteers we wouldn't have our community museum, and I wouldn't have had this opportunity.
As a non-profit organization, fundraising is important to every aspect of the historeum's operations. To that end, I became inspired by the core exhibit project and set out to help raise funds for it.
I had started a historical photo scavenger hunt, which proved very popular as a way for families to spend time together while exploring and working together. I have also been able to observe event planning, and how to raise funds from those events.
Some of the greatest parts of my job were meeting really interesting people from all over the globe. It seems everyone has a story to tell, especially if they are researching their family.
I also had the privilege to research and create my own exhibit. My choice of topic was our local business - Brookfield Lumber.
Along with my own exhibit, I have been able to witness two more exhibits being put together - ‘Stitches over Time' and ‘100 Years of 4H Green.'
I had many fun projects while I was at the museum, such as building a board game (Colchester Road trip) for our upcoming Historeum Thursdays. I had the chance to look through artifacts that are in storage, which as a history geek, was pretty great. Another project that I took great pride in was revamping our gift shop. We had some very hard-working youth volunteers come help us move everything around, making our gift shop more open and welcoming.
These things were great, but the best part of my job was working with so many different people and their love of the Colchester Historeum.
Their affection for our county museum is contagious, as I too have this affection now.
In the end I am not really leaving here this summer as I intend to volunteer and become a member of the historical society myself.
Jessica Lynds was a summer student at the Colchester Historeum.