Volunteers keep Park City Museum rolling | ParkRecord.com

Volunteers keep Park City Museum rolling

Orientation held this month

The Park City Museum welcomed 125,000 visitors last year.

With only four full-time staff members, the museum relied heavily on their volunteers to accommodate the high number of people who came to learn about the ski town's history.

This year, the nonprofit expects around the same amount of patrons, and its director of education, Diane Knispel, is ready.

She'll host two volunteer training sessions this month. The first will be held from 5-7 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 7, and the second will be from 3-5 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 15.

"People can just show up to these," Knispel told The Park Record. "They don't have to call or anything."

These group volunteer orientations are less intense than the one-on-one volunteer interviews Knispel does.

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"We'll have groups of people come in and learn about the museum and what a volunteer is all about before they make a choice of whether or not to volunteer," she said. "People can come to one orientation or the other. They don't have to come to both."

If neither of those days works for people who want to learn more about volunteering, they
can call Knispel.

"Then we can set up individual training sessions," she said.

Volunteers are used for a variety of duties that include installing and taking down traveling exhibits, cataloging and processing collection items, assisting in the Research Library, helping with special events, leading both adult tours and school group programs and assisting as gallery guides.

"Many volunteers have been volunteers for years," Knispel said. "Some only want to help in specific areas and programs, like our annual Historic House Tour."

Some volunteers are seasonal.

"Just like many people who live in Park City part time, we'll have volunteers who come for the summer or winter and not for spring or fall," Knispel said. "When they get to town they'll call us to tell us they're ready to volunteer, and we'll take them whenever they have time."

Some volunteers like working with the public.

"We always try to have a gallery guide who gives people a quick intro to the museum, the layout, where things are and that type of thing," Knispel said. "We also have volunteers who do our Historic Main Street tours and our annual fundraiser gala as well as school tours."

Other volunteers work behind the scenes.

"They work downstairs in our collections and research library, because we need all the items that come in cataloged and entered in the computer," Knispel said. "We also have volunteers that write 'The Way We Were' articles for The Park Record or help with our bulk mailings."

People have their own reasons for volunteering.

"We have people who have been impressed by the museum during a visit and they'll call us and ask if there's something they can do," Knispel said. "Some want to learn more about Park City."

One thing Knispel wants to emphasize is potential volunteers do not need a deep knowledge of Park City history to help out.

"We will train them in all of that," she said. "First off, give everyone tours to give them some background and history."

Knispel will also hand out training manuals that include Park City's history.

"Then we'll have them observe a tour that will give them an idea of what needs to be done," she said. "Even if volunteers want to work in the collections or write articles, they can do research and learn as they go on. So, you see, we don't leave anyone high and dry because we want them to feel comfortable with what they are doing."

The key is matching people with their interests.

"To do that, I'll have them come in and meet and we'll talk," Knispel said. "They'll be able to pick what they want to help with and we'll see if they're comfortable in that area."

Sometimes people will start in one area and want to move to another.

"We're fine with that," Knispel said. "The thing is, there are many opportunities to volunteer in Park City, and we want them to remember the museum needs help, too."

New volunteer orientation will be held from 5-7 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 7, and from 3-5 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 15, at the Park City Museum, 528 Main St. For information, contact Diane Knispel by emailing education@parkcityhistory.org or by calling 435-649-7457, ext. 102.