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Museum Volunteers: Great Neighbors

More than 100 people volunteer at the Museum of Idaho. It’s a win-win situation for the community and the volunteers.

Linda Mortensen acts as a museum docent. She’s one of the people in the red vests who act as guides and answer questions.

“I retired from the INL and decided it was time to give back to the community, so I decided why not come to the museum and get a little culture in along the way?” Mortensen said.

Mortensen spends a half-day a week to help out and enjoys it.

“I like the learning about whatever exhibit is here, but I like the people coming through – they get so excited about everything,” Mortensen said.

Deloy Braswell has found a family here. He started volunteering several years ago after his wife passed away. It makes him feel needed and is like a home away from home.

“I’ve made a lot of friends here,” Braswell said. “They’re just like family to me now.”

In all, about 125 people volunteer at the museum. They do everything from setting up exhibits to answering questions about them to taking them down. With only nine staff actually employed there, the volunteers are absolutely needed.

“At this particular museum we wouldn’t be able to function without the volunteers because the volunteers are everything – they are the ones who keep the museum running,” Susan Van Orden with the museum said.

The time commitment varies by individual.

“Some of them come once a month, some of them come once a week, some of them come every other week, some of them come a couple times a week, so it just depends,” said Van Orden.

More volunteers are always welcome and needed. So if you have some time on your hands and want to make a contribution to the community, sign up at the museum or online. The museum will call you in for an interview, give you some training and put you to work.

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