No Ordinary Job Description
by Lynne Belluscio
I attended a museum conference a while ago. The topic was volunteers – how to find them; how to keep them; how to acknowledge their work. The speaker emphasized that it was important to write a job description for your volunteers – which I found amusing.
Job description for a volunteer at the LeRoy Historical Society:
#1 Can endure fluctuations in the weather while dishing out cold slaw, BBQ chicken and salt potatoes during the chicken BBQ (which by the way is Sunday, May 31st at Trigon Park and we need you to volunteer to put the date on your calendar and to stop buy and buy a couple of BBQs).
#2 Can put up with black flies while pulling weeds in the garden and knows the difference between a dandelion and lovage.
#3 Knows that we only use Endust never Pledge and never use water to clean gilt frames and appreciates the Oreck vacuum cleaner.
#4 Has some welding skills AND a portable welder to replace kick plates on stairs to Jell-O Gallery (as pictured above).
#5 Can figure out the obscure mapping of Machpelah Cemetery to find veterans' graves on the Saturday before Memorial Day and can provide a tool to make holes in the hard ground for the flags and is willing to give three hours - 9 AM to noon on designated Saturday (May 23), rain or shine and midst black flies to help decorate veterans’ graves and will meet at the main gate with an understanding of the importance of this project. (Anyone interested can call me at 768-7433)
#6 Can share with fourth grade students the intricacies of butter churning and the vocabulary words: homogenized, pasteurized, skim milk, butter milk, heavy cream ... etc. ; knowing how to play the “graces”, “hunt the ring”, “hop scotch” and how not to kill yourself with the knuckle knocker; how to enjoy washing clothes "the old fashioned way" and knowing the difference between “flying geese”, “windmill” and “nine patch”.
#7 Has a working knowledge of the history of LeRoy House and knows the difference between Herman LeRoy and Jacob LeRoy and which one slept with the Director of the Historical Society. Can locate the Triangle Tract on a map; knows what the “devil’s guts” are; can tell the scandalous story of John Lent and his family; knows why there is lime Jell-O on the table in the 1930s kitchen and the story of string beans on the counter.
#8 Understands Quick Books and can get into the computer and find out why we were being overcharged by Energetix.
#9 Knows where “Sol’s Notes” are located; can alphabetize newspaper clippings; knows who were the Sampsons, the Samsons, the Keeneys, the Kennys, the Mac Kenzies, the McKenzies and can trace the Italian families to their homes in Italy.
#10 Can replace the ballast in a light fixture; can fix the chain and overflow valve in a toilet; can start the snow blower and knows where the snow shovel is kept; knows that we don’t use salt on the sidewalks – only “snow melt”; knows where the turn off valve is for the water line to the Little League faucet; knows why Athena is hiding behind the chimney.
#11 Has enough patience to work on a project for years, knowing that it may never be completed; can write little numbers on little pieces of twill tape that are in turn sewn into the left sleeve of a garment for identification; knows the difference between cotton, linen, sateen, twill, silk, rayon; can identify machine stitching and hand stitching; can identify a pelerine, fichu, spencer, waistcoat, vest, frock coat, sacque.
#12 Has knowledge about the workings of an 18th Century clock and can “fix it”; knows what a girandole is and knows what size prisms it should have; has knowledge about pianos and can offer advice about where and who might restore an 1878 Steinway concert grand.
So, as you can see, the job descriptions for our volunteers are varied and specialized, however, we are looking for some folks who would be willing to give a couple of hours a week to help give tours of LeRoy House. There are a lot of visitors who want to go through the house and we need to keep it open as often as we can. We do provide on-the- job training and you will learn about Jacob and Herman LeRoy and which one I slept with. You also will learn about the Lent family, Ingham University and the story of the “holy war” and the steam iron. If you have an interest in meeting the public and sharing our great stories with them, give us a call – 768-7433.
LE ROY PENNYSAVER & NEWS - May 17, 2009