Park City Museum seeks volunteers
Ryan Summerlin February 28, 2014
Last year, 22,500 people visited the Park City Museum, including 1,500 children the museum hosted from various school and youth programs.
The museum also provided guided interior tours for 300 adults and more than 600 people took the Main Street walking tours in the summer.
None of this would have been possible if it weren’t for museum volunteers and docents, said education director Jenette Purdy.
"They are some of the best people that I have ever met and it’s fun to be a part of that group and interact with them," Purdy told The Park Record. "The work they do is vital to us in fulfilling our mission to preserve, protect and promote Park City’s history.
"We have between 60 and 70 volunteers and we are always looking for more," she said. "We do have a small staff and a lot of programs and services that we love to offer."
On Wednesday, March 5, the Park City Museum, 528 Main St., will host its spring volunteer orientation from 3 p.m. until 4:30 p.m.
"Anyone who has some spare time can become a volunteer, and we like to hold an orientation to let folks know about the volunteer opportunities we have here," Purdy said. "Depending on potential volunteers’ interests the museum will help them find the right job."
Orientation lays out all the different opportunities and gives background on the museum, Purdy said.
Jobs include becoming gallery guides, answering questions and helping out in the front desk.
"We felt it is important to have that personal connection with the visitors and have had some great feedback from folks who appreciate what we do," Purdy said. "We could just send the visitors on their way into the galleries, but we like to offer the friendly Park City personal touch."
Other volunteers can help with the summer walking tours and the annual historic home tour.
"The walking tours are held Monday through Friday, starting in June," Purdy said. "They start here at the museum, and go down Main Street. And the historic home tour runs on a lot of volunteer power."
There are other volunteer opportunities at the Park City Museum that are less public-oriented.
"We have two or three traveling exhibits that come into the museum every year and they need to be installed and taken down," Purdy said. "Our curator, Courtney Titus, couldn’t do that alone, so we need some awesome volunteers to help."
Help is also needed in the museum’s artifact collections area.
"Volunteers catalog and process items that come in, and we get quite a bit because we are actively collecting things that reflect Park City History," Purdy explained. "We have a backlog of items that need to be cataloged."
In addition, volunteers can help with research and writing "The Way We Were" column that is published in The Park Record.
"We love to have people write that column as guest writers," Purdy said. "We also need writers to help with our newsletter."
Furthermore, potential volunteers aren’t just thrown into a job, Purdy said.
"One of the misconceptions I have heard is that people think they don’t know enough of Park City’s history to become a guide or work help at the museum," she said. "During the spring, we have a series of training courses that include Park City History 101 and mining introduction.
"We hand out many forms and a docent manual that they can read to brush up on their knowledge and skills," Purdy said. "What I have also found is that a lot of people know more than they think they know, and these sessions are designed to help volunteers build their knowledge."
The museum also offers interactive trainings that show how to give tours and how to use the programs required in the library and research departments.
"One thing we are is flexible," Purdy said. "Some of our volunteers are mainly here during the summer. Others are here during the winter and we do have some who are here year-round. So we understand the schedule of Park City folk, and will work with their schedules.
"However, we do like people who are reliable, who will show up when they have signed up for a shift," she said.
One of the perks of becoming a volunteer is free admission to the exhibits, lecture series and tours.
"Also becoming a volunteer is the perfect way to give back and get involved with the community," Purdy said. "And always remember, you do not have to be a museum member to volunteer."
The Park City Museum, 528 Main St., will host a new volunteer orientation on Wednesday, March 5, from 3 p.m. until 4:30 p.m. For more information about how to become a volunteer, call 435-649-7457 ext. 5102 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. For a full Docent Training schedule, visit www.parkcityhistory.org/membership/volunteer.