Miner Museum seeks volunteers for potentially busy tourist season

CHAZY Its been said its hard to find good help these days, and when it comes to finding volunteers, there never seem to be enough to get the job done, says Amanda A. Palmer. Serving as the director and curator of the Alice T. Miner Museum since 2006, Palmer has been searching for volunteers since she began her job. In that time, The Alice has had about a dozen volunteers join its ranks, including four people who lead tours, three who have started the museum garden club, three who are working on organizing the museum archives and a few other backstage maestros. However, in anticipation of a very busy summer for the museum, Palmer has stepped up her efforts in recruiting additional high-quality volunteers. I would love to find three or four people who are interested in leading tours of the museum, said Palmer. This is the most important role we can fulfill at The Alice teaching visitors about the museum, its collection and its founders, Alice T. and William H. Miner. The colonial revival museum offers an array of jobs for volunteers to take on, said Palmer. While some volunteers may host tours of the museum, many are able to work behind the scenes in the archives, the gardens, conducting research and assisting Palmer in preparing exhibits. We tend to tailor the job to the person, explained Palmer. By maintaining this kind of flexibility we hope to provide volunteers with the experience that will be the most satisfying for them as individuals. The museum is currently preparing an exhibit of drafting kits and tools, as well as drafting diagrams that belonged to William H. Miner. An exhibit of 16th and 18th century fabric samples that Alice T. Miner collected which have never been shown before is also in the works, said Palmer. This summer, starting in July, the museum will also have a first-ever exhibition of Japanese woodblock prints collected by Alice T. Miner in the 1920s leading to Palmers expectation museum traffic will be higher than ever. In order to become a volunteer, a person must interview with Palmer to see where his or her interests lie and how they might fit into the museums schedule and needs. The training to lead tours of the museum then requires study of tour procedures, with potential volunteers able to study written materials and join others as they lead tours. Docents also learn skills relating to the proper handling and care of historic objects and archival materials as well as tour guiding techniques, public relations and research methods, said Palmer. While the museum only asks for a minimum of six hours a week from its volunteers, Palmer said she can understand volunteer work can be difficult for many to fit into their hectic schedules. That is why she appreciates whatever time a person can donate toward the establishment which aims to educate others about the philanthropists which helped mold the town of Chazy into what it is today. I cannot imagine operating the museum without the invaluable help of volunteers, said Palmer. However, those who cannot volunteer can still do the next best thing, she added. The best way to help here at The Alice is to come for a tour, bring your out-of-town visitors, learn the story of this wonderful place right here in your own backyard, and help to spread the news of the value of museums to your children, she said. Anyone interested in volunteering may contact Palmer at the museum, 846-7336, or via e-mail at minermuseum@westelcom.com. The Alice T. Miner Museum, located at 9618 State Route 9, is open Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., with guided tours at 10 a.m., 12 p.m. and 2 p.m. For more information about the museum or upcoming events, call the museum or visit www.minermuseum.org.

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