Each year, over 3,500 students from across the state visit the Vermont History Museum in Montpelier. They come to learn about how Vermont became a state and to see the stuffed catamount. For many of the students, it is their first trip to the state capital. The field trip brings their study of Vermont to life. One third-grade student reported, “I had a lot of fun on the trip. There is a lot of cool stuff like the wigwam in the museum.”
A dedicated corps of volunteers guides these students through the Freedom & Unity exhibit. Volunteer tour guides, also called History Helpers, share wonderful stories about our state with students. They explain why Dr. Samuel Adams is hanging in a chair outside the Catamount Tavern. They demonstrate how to send a message in Morse code on the telegraph and encourage the students to tap out a few letters. When students explore the World War II living room, some of the guides share their own memories of growing up during the war.
These tour guides are crucial to the success of the field trip for many of the students who visit the museum. Working with the children is also a highlight for the volunteers. Johannah Currier, a tour guide from Barre, says “I find interacting with the small groups of school-aged children stimulating and rewarding. By giving tours, I have learned more about Vermont history from the students’ perspective.”
The museum is recruiting additional volunteer tour guides for the busy spring season. No experience is necessary and training is provided. If you are enthusiastic about history and interested in working with children, consider becoming a volunteer History Helper at the museum. An information session will take place on Tuesday, February 11th, from 10:30-11:30 at the Vermont History Museum, located at 109 State Street in Montpelier. Learn more about the program and the benefits of volunteering at the Vermont Historical Society. If you are not able to attend the session or if you want more information, please contact Victoria Hughes at (802) 828-1413 or firstname.lastname@example.org.