Why I volunteer

Why do I volunteer?
by Pat McParland

“VOLUNTEER!!!!! Are you crazy?? Time is money and I’m short on both!! And that’s a fact, Jack!”

I know these words are true because I’ve said them more than once myself. And that’s why I want to tell you about the wonderful, dedicated volunteers at your Edgewater Historical Museum who, in spite of this truth, have done so much. Starting with the museum creators, this group of 15 people took a tottering, abandoned WPA firestation and suffered through city regulations, legal problems, contractor errors and financial issues to create a beautiful home for saving Edgewater’s treasures and teaching Edgewater’s lessons.

Then more volunteers joined them to broaden these goals, creating exhibits to show how meat was cut at our grocery stores in the 1890s, how the first crime in our community happened in 1893, how people of all orientations and backgrounds managed to create a cohesive community, how to find the architectural grandeur in our area and how to just have fun here. And now they’re designing a 2lst century museum to attract and inform a new generation through high tech and websites.

Why do volunteers keep working so hard for this museum? The answer: To find and keep stories about local people. Stories from the past to teach us, stories about the present to support us and stories of future plans to inspire us. We find these stories by talking to each other, our visitors, our neighbors and from people walking down the street. Exhibits are made from these stories; recordings are made of these stories; research is enhanced by these stories. And me? Well that’s what I’m doing – greeting new and familiar visitors, sharing time with other interesting and fun volunteers and telling and collecting stories.

Why? Because I like it.