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Volunteers needed at West Overton Museums

| Friday, May 10, 2013, 5:48 p.m.

West Overton Museums officials are hoping to attract some volunteers to help with guided tours and several other projects throughout the summer.

The museum has one full-time employee, two part-time employees year-round and one part-time employee during the summer season.

The roster includes 28 volunteers who give of their time, but spokeswoman Jessica Kadie Barclay said the museums are constantly soliciting for volunteers on their website and in their newsletter.

This year, they will offer some volunteer training events.

“We plan to continue it as part of an ongoing effort to keep our volunteers up-to-date on the museum, homestead and grounds to ensure the best possible experience for our visitors,” Kadie Barclay said.

As in any nonprofit organization, volunteers are vital to the continuation and improvement of West Overton.

“Not only do they provide much-needed labor, but they also contribute opinions, ideas, creativity and passion,” Kadie Barclay said. “Our volunteers are an important part of West Overton, and we value their time and effort. They truly make a difference.”

She added that there are many volunteer positions available, including tour guides (also known as docents), but volunteers for visitor services are needed. These volunteers help in the operation of the gift shops and visitor navigation for vehicular and foot traffic around the village.

The first training session was held on May 4. More sessions will be planned as needed.

Kadie Barclay said many of the opportunities can be filled by younger volunteers, such as helping to maintain the buildings and grounds, assisting with collection management, and providing interpretation during events, such as living history weekends or re-enactments.

Even grade-school students are invited to get involved in volunteer efforts.

“The knowledge of the history of West Overton that this experience would bring to these students would prove to be invaluable,” she said. “I would welcome calls from teachers so that we may further discuss this exciting opportunity.”

Much of what happens around West Overton relies on volunteer support.

“Looking to the future, I see volunteers taking a larger stake in the events and activities at West Overton,” Kadie Barclay said. “We look to our present and future volunteers to be a part of our history and to help us shape West Overton into an informative tourist attraction.”

Rachel Basinger is a freelance writer.

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