By Becky Fertitta
Read the full June 2013 issue of Viewpoints.
It is always very surprising when summer arrives, because one minute it’s spring, then you blink your eyes and BAM, it’s HOT! That certainly holds true for the spring and beginning of summer this year. The spring was an extremely busy one for the McFaddin-Ward House volunteers. Now, as we close in on the official beginning of summer, we don’t expect it to slow down one bit!
Spring began just a bit early for the museum staff and volunteers when the McFaddin-Ward House, along with all the museums in the Golden Triangle, hosted the Texas Association of Museums (TAM) Annual Conference at the beginning of April. Conference attendees spent a lovely evening at our museum—most said it was the highlight of the conference! We were able to show off our wonderful museum properties, plus we showed off the 26 volunteers, adult and teenage, who helped with the event.
The museum also held several public events in April, where junior interpreters and docents led tours; and our education volunteers stayed active visiting four nursing homes in April and May. Ten volunteers who enjoy working with youngsters traveled to Silsbee with staff to present the museum’s fun program, Old Time School Days, to nearly 70 fourth graders. Just before school ended for the summer, 300 students from Odom Middle School visited the museum over three mornings and kept us hopping. It took 13 adult and teenage volunteers each day, plus staff, to make sure that every student toured the house and the carriage house, watched the play “A Morning with the McFaddins,” and enjoyed hands-on activities at the visitor center. It was the second year we have managed to make this really big event happen, and it is all because of our amazing volunteers!
The Volunteer Service Council (VSC) members enjoyed some fun activities this spring as well. In April, 30 volunteers and staff took a tour of landmarks in and around Beaumont that were important to the McFaddin and Ward families. Staffer Judy Linsley compiled research on the various locations and shared that information throughout the trip. The volunteers pronounced it one of the best get-togethers ever! In May, 42 adult volunteers and guests traveled to Nottoway Plantation in White Oak, Louisiana, where they enjoyed tours and a fantastic lunch. These day trips are a real camaraderie builder for the VSC, and the social hospitality committee makes it even better by serving great refreshments going and coming!
Adult volunteers also enjoyed a special preview of the summer and fall exhibit installation in late May. Again the social/hospitality committee of the VSC prepared and served delicious appetizers for the occasion. The curatorial staff explained the interpretation and led the volunteers on a tour through the new exhibit. The McFaddin-Ward House Book Club met in May to discuss The Lost City of “Z.” The book club continues to be a popular quarterly gathering. Each time, members read a chosen book; one takes the lead in the discussion and everyone enjoys a catered lunch! The next meeting will be in August.
In July the VSC will hold a general meeting for all members featuring a local interior designer discussing the use of color in decorating. Members will enjoy a “covered dish” meal (always a huge hit!) and get some insight about interior design, something that Ida McFaddin and Mamie McFaddin-Ward also did many years ago. The social/hospitality committee will be in charge of preparations and decorations for this event. The education committee will be busy this summer presenting “Digging in the Toy Box,” a really fun hands-on look at toys through history, to local libraries. Committee members will also be “hands on” with the museum’s summer camp “Tried and True: Teaching Traditions” in late July and early August.
Junior interpreters were most helpful this spring with the TAM Conference—ten teenagers were here on a school night until after 9 p.m.—to share their training with our visitors. Later in April, when the museum participated in the Magnolia Garden Club’s event “Through the Garden Gate,” JIs gave tours of the first floor to dozens of visitors. The museum’s summer Junior Interpreter training class will begin on Monday, June 17. Interested teenagers (13 or older) should call Becky Fertitta for information (409) 832-2134. There is an application process and the deadline for applying is June 10, 2013. These well-trained teenagers give tours throughout the year on special JI Guide Days, as well as volunteer for other activities.
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