“Volunteering is the ultimate exercise in democracy. You vote in elections once a year, but when you volunteer, you vote every day about the kind of community you want to live in.” — Unknown
If you've been by the museum, you've likely seen many of these folks as they staff the Nealis Hall desk. They answer questions, ring up purchases, and serve as the front-line greeters. Some have been volunteering at the museum for years, while others are new to volunteering. Most docents volunteer once or twice a week for a few hours and staff the Nealis Hall desk. Some of our greeters are also helping with museum projects such as scanning photos
Tour Guides are individuals who sign up to help lead school tours of the museum. Hundreds of local kids around Humboldt County visit the Clarke Museum every year to supplement their classroom learning. Docents usually lead tours of either the main hall or Nealis Hall, and at least two docents are needed for each class of kids who visit the museum. We are always looking for more docents to help out with tours. Introductory and ongoing training for leading tours is provided free of charge by the museum. Contact us if you are interested in leading tours as there is a high demand for school tour docents every fall and spring here at the museum.
Each semester, we bring in a couple of interns to help with a variety of ongoing projects in the museum. Intern projects have included improving our WWII memorial webpage, building a mini digital exhibit on early 1900s women's hats, and scanning the photo collections into formats for researchers and use within the museum. Intern projects vary from year to year and each intern project is designed with the intern's interests and goals in mind.
Want to help in the museum but are more interested in the behind the scenes work? We have volunteers who work organizing the archives, digitizing museum items, updating labels and records, documenting new donations, putting things away, helping with setting up and taking down exhibits, and researching items in the collections. If you have an interest in organizing or researching, this is the project for you!
How did our volunteers get their start here?
Shirley first got involved at the Clarke when she became a Board member in 2017. Since then, she's jumped into being one of our most diverse volunteers. She works with a number of committees on the Board as board president, helps with school tours and events, and leads workshops during Arts Alive oftentimes with the help of her granddaughter and Junior Docent Isobel. Her favorite part of volunteering at the Clarke is being able to participate in inter-cultural interactions that take place in Nealis Hall through the workshops she hosts and sharing her cultural and traditional knowledge with the visiting public and her granddaughter
Kelly Fortner: Volunteering at the Clarke in her own words
This has been my first experience volunteering in a museum setting and I absolutely love it! The staff and other volunteers at the museum are super kind and welcoming and it is really interesting to learn a bit about the museum’s collections and about some of the local area’s history. Also, working with the rocks and minerals provides an experience that is special to me, because I also majored in Geology at HSU and I feel that there is so much we can learn through studying rocks. Rocks carry with them a story that tells of their journey from their formation to how they traveled to the surface of the Earth and into our hands. And through the study of rocks (petrology), I have learned a bit about how to interpret and convey these stories. From my perspective, I would say that stories are inherent to the way that we, as humans, understand and interact with the world. I think it is incredibly valuable to have a place like the Clarke Historical Museum in our area to facilitate the sharing of various stories from the past and I feel lucky to have the opportunity to volunteer there!