From the President
By: Bob Remer
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the incorporation of the Edgewater Community Council, progenitor of EHS and many other great community assets. Besides spawning our historical society from its oral history project, ECC’s list of credits includes the library, the Broadway Armory as a park district field house, Berger Park and the North Lakeside Cultural Center, Care For Real – the list goes on and on. To symbolize ECC’s role in the community, the theme of “Lighting the Way” captures perfectly this history. You will see many individually adorned lighthouses throughout Edgewater this summer at many businesses and institutions.
EHS has a really great lighthouse outside the Museum at the corner of Balmoral and Ashland. We are really proud of this colorful display of historic photos and postcards showing a panoply of Edgewater’s history from the 19th century forward.
Elisabeth Szegho gave us the inspirational design idea; Kathy Gemperle chose the photos and brilliantly executed the design with the help of her creative and hardworking team of Marieluise Kailing, Tom Murphy, Thom Greene and a host of St. Gregory High School students. Take a tour of our community and enjoy the lighthouses this Summer and Fall. A list and map of the sites are at the ECC website: EdgewaterCommunityCouncil.org
We are actively working with the ECC anniversary committee to develop a booklet on ECC’s history for its Fall Gala. In October, we will launch a new exhibit to commemorate ECC and its success with Operation Winthrop-Kenmore and in getting Edgewater designated Chicago Community Area 77.
One of the pleasures of this job is to thank all the great volunteers who do so much to support your Historical Society and Museum. Knowing that volunteers are the lifeblood of our success, the board is giving new focus to the recruitment, retention and recognition of volunteers. We have expanded the Membership committee to become the Membership and Volunteer Committee, under the able and enthusiastic co-chairs Betty Mayian and Dorothy Nygren. They organized a wonderful recognition picnic in our garden on July 11.
One of the big challenges of being a volunteer driven organization is to match up volunteers’ interests and availability with the organization’s needs. To that end, we are developing a more descriptive list of the kinds of volunteer activities that make this organization. How often have we all filled out volunteer forms only to be not called or called to do something other than what we checked?
The board is working on prioritizing our volunteer needs and then focusing on recruitment in those areas. Likewise, we want to offer those who want to volunteer a meaningful and specific list of the kinds of volunteer activities we have. Then we want to do a better job of matching up the prospective volunteer with the committee chairs.
One good example is our top priority to maintain and expand our Museum hours. This summer we decided to open on Sunday afternoons as well as our regular Saturday hours. Dorothy Nygren and Marty Stewart promptly recruited Sunday volunteers and got us a nice sign with our new hours placed on the building.
But to do that means having museum docents available to keep the building open, greet our guests and provide explanations and tours of our exhibits. Many of our board members serve as docents and we also have also a great core of other tireless volunteers who regularly greet our guests. In order to expand hours, however, we have been fortunate to have several new docents.
But we will need even more docents to maintain these extra hours beyond the summer and to possibly add weekend evening hours later. If you are interested, please let us know and we’ll add you to our great docent team this year that we want to thank, including: Betty and Ara Mayian, Marieluise Kailing, Dorothy Nygren, Marty Stewart, Mae Johnson, Nancy Schroeder, Brian Treglown, Larry Ebert, Sylvia Lynch, Morrie Matson, Tiffany Middleton, LeRoy Blommaert, Will Rye, Mark Melton, Maryann Leffingwell, Kathy Gemperle, Tom Murphy, Bob Remer, Barb Strauss and Pat Duff.
Can we include you in the list? Being a docent would entail a commitment of four hours every month or so, on either Saturday or Sunday afternoons. We provide you with training and orientation to the Museum and to the exhibits. You will be working with at least one other person. You might be greeting visitors, showing DVDs on Edgewater or Chicago history, talking about the exhibits or local history and offering information about EHS membership and activities. We have Wi-Fi, so bring your laptop or use ours to get caught up on history or special interests. And you will meet a lot of very interesting and nice visitors who share our interest in history and the community. Not a bad deal. Call us at 773‑506‑4849 and leave a message or email us through our web site.