Every April the Museum honors the many contributions of volunteers from the previous year with a celebratory breakfast. With the museum’s closure in March, we were forced to adapt. On July 17 the staff gathered with small groups of volunteers over the course of the afternoon to (safely) enjoy an ice cream treat and pass out our appreciation gifts. This year volunteers received a special key chain as they are “key to our success.” We loved checking in with this wonderful group of people and taking a moment to slow down and celebrate. We joke that we would be history without our volunteers, but we know this is true! They are critical to our mission and as we begin to slowly reopen their support has proven an essential ingredient.
When Jim Sciegel arrived for the final time slot of the afternoon celebration we surprised him with some exciting news. Jim was nominated and selected by the staff to receive the honor of the 2019 Volunteer of the Year. Jim has served primarily at the front desk but has also used his talents and passion for history and education to support our school programs. These volunteer roles require equal parts knowledge, enthusiasm, and affability. Jim not only possesses these critical qualities but has always put his own special spin on it. The Museum Registrar, Caitlin Sharpe shared a sentiment held by all of the staff members, “I always appreciate how friendly he is to everyone. He will see me walking through the lobby and make time to say hello. I also love how he gets into the spirit of things by dressing up for holidays.” This volunteer has become a bit of a legend for his wonderful holiday hats ranging from Santa caps to reindeer antlers. Today he has replaced the funky hats with expressive face masks!
Jim began volunteering for the museum in 2013. He has dabbled in different areas and has a knack for making people feel welcome. He shared that he loves giving back to the community in different ways. He has a funny memory of working with 4th graders during a Hands on History field trip, “The student said, ‘You know so much! I guess it is because you traveled with the Homesteaders.’ I took that as a compliment and also had a good laugh.”
We are so excited to honor and celebrate Jim! Congratulations and thank you for your many wonderful years of dedicated service.