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Volunteers sought to save local history

By Staff | Aug 3, 2012

Heather Greenfield

Special to the Chronicle

The Shepherdstown Historical Committee is seeking volunteers for its various initiatives to preserve and educate others about the town’s history.

Historic Shepherdstown is an active, non-profit, membership organization dedicated to preserving Shepherdstown’s architectural character and building public understanding of Shepherdstown’s history. The Entler Hotel on German Street serves as the organization’s headquarters.

Vicki Smith, president of the Historic Shepherdstown Committee, says that there are various opportunities to volunteer, depending on the person’s interests.

Smith said there is a “constant need” for museum docents, people who welcome visitors to the museum and are trained in the history of the town. The docents volunteer for a three hour shift, once a month. Smith assures that the museum does not demand their docents to be historical virtuosos before training.

“There are enough display markers and it’s an almost self-guided tour so you don’t have to be a buff,” she said.

Smith added that the museum also needs people who are skilled with kids as special docents for children’s tours.

Another volunteer possibility includes historical preservation.

Smith said, “We would like to have a volunteer who is interested in historic preservation in Shepherdstown and in the Jefferson County area, someone who would keep track of issues relating to historic preservation and help us determine when we might have a useful role.”

Smith shared that the museum is also seeking regular volunteers to keep up their garden and is willing to show the weeds to prove it. She suggests that people can come in groups to work together.

“If you love gardening, it might be fun,” she said.

While the museum has a trained archivist for their archives, there are other volunteer opportunities that can be done with the museum’s documents. Smith said that people are needed to go through every file and help determine the value of the collection for a new appraisal.

“We need people who are detail-oriented with documents and document research,” she said.

The museum has always relied on volunteer efforts since its inception. Volunteers saved the Entler Hotel from being demolished in the 1970s and helped to rebuild it over 11 years. Most of the objects in the museum were donated by townspeople.

The Historical Shepherdstown Committee also relies on volunteers from Shepherd University. Community service fraternity, Phi Kappa Tau, museum studies internships and oral history classes have participated in helping the museum in the past.

Shepherd University’s graphic design department was also involved with the museum’s new Civil War Shepherdstown exhibit, which was curated and written by Shepherd Alumnus Nicholas Redding.

Smith said that the committee is interested in people who want to become board members. She suggests that those who would like to be board members should volunteer in on of the other areas first.

Those who are interested in volunteering can contact Cheryl Gregory at 876-0910 or email hsc86@citilink.net for more information.