Thanks! I cannot say this word enough to the handful of high-school and college volunteers that dutifully come in at least one Saturday of every month, giving up valuable weekend mornings that could be spent working additional hours at a paying job, hanging out with friends, or sleeping. Instead, my volunteers can be found engaging in conversations about history with visitors from ages 2 – 102, cleaning up spilled glitter from an arts and craft project, or sitting down in our reproduction colonial kitchen, wearing an apron and pretending to enjoy the onion and apple soup that is being prepared for them by one of our young visitors.
Since they give so much of their time (and are invaluable to me!), I want to highlight a few of these volunteers. Meet Sean and Lisa – two self-proclaimed history nuts!
Sean is a high-school student who is “…passionate about the Revolutionary War (he is even a re-enactor) and Connecticut history.” He is so passionate that his favorite object currently on display is a surgeon’s kit, used by Dr. Peter Turner of the 1st Rhode Island Regiment during the Revolutionary War. Sean says that he was instantly drawn to the surgical kit because of “…the fascinating history of the regiment and the valiant men who served.”
Sean really enjoys volunteering at the Connecticut Historical Society because he “…loves the idea of preserving and spreading the knowledge of history to the people that live in Connecticut.” Sean has been volunteering at the CHS for the past few months. During this time, Sean has shown how dedicated he is to helping out with family programs – he has even been willing to travel to off-site programs to offer a hand! THANKS SEAN – so glad to have you as part of our team!
Lisa is studying History and Political Science at the University of Connecticut-Storrs campus. She continues to come back to CHS on weekends and during breaks because, “…it is so much fun to teach others about history. The staff is so great to work with and the artifacts are amazing!” (Thanks Lisa!). Lisa has been a volunteer at CHS for four years and I have come to rely on Lisa for her adaptability (which you must have when working with children!) and her willingness to do anything that is asked of her. THANKS LISA – so glad that you continue to help out!
Lisa’s favorite object on display is a looking glass, or mirror, in our Making Connecticut exhibit. This 18th century looking glass was owned by the Punderson family. An enlarged photograph of a needlework done by 17 year-old Prudence Punderson hangs near the looking glass. Titled The First, Second, and Last Scene of Mortality, Prudence depicts herself during the three stages of life. The looking glass also appears on the needlework. Lisa says that, “It is so interesting to see the physical object that the needlework was based on. It is like history brought to life!”
If you ever find yourself at CHS for one of our free first Saturday family programs, you will probably run into Lisa or Sean. Say hi, strike up a conversation, and if you make a mess, they have you covered!
Erin Strogoff is the Coordinator of Youth & Family Programs at the Connecticut Historical Society.