I have a really fun volunteer opportunity for you. Anyone who lives close enough to Park Forest to come for a few hours can do it. I know there are people out there who would get as much of a kick out of this as our current volunteers do. The 1950s Park Forest House Museum needs more volunteers. It is a great chance to exchange stories about your childhood and youth, and fun to be amongst all those familiar things! We just got Lincoln Logs, and I want to build a fort for the plastic cowboys and Indians to play around this summer. Maybe one of you could help! If this sounds like something you would enjoy, look at our website at www.parkforesthistory.org for the virtual tour. Keep in mind that we have many more dolls and toys than show in the web photos. The museum is not just about Park Forest history. It is an original rental townhome furnished as it might have been from 1948-1953, with a few touches from the later 1950s, and household things that stayed in houses to this day. Email me to say you want to know more.
It’s really is fun to show the museum. It is a kick to see the reactions of people who walk in our door, going in one step from 2008 to 1953. Some actually need a minute to make the transition. You can watch the transformation of their faces as they travel through time back to their youth. Since AARP Bulletin did the article on us in March, we have had over 10,000 visitors to the website–and lots of them have emailed or called to ask about visiting! Two sisters came from Scottsdale, AZ last week, and said their local TV news did a story on us with photos from our website, and everyone at work was talking about it the next day! As they said in Field of Dreams, "People will come. People will most definitely come." We need to have volunteers there when they come!!
Volunteering just means taking a turn every once in a while, hosting and giving the tour to folks who come by on Saturdays from 1-3 p.m. The more folks we have, the fewer turns everyone has to take. If we found volunteers to do it, we would try to open another day during the week, or for more hours on Saturday. We also need to double up and have two people in, just in case we get a bunch instead of a few. We have had 17-21 people go through in the two hours! We are also booking tours for groups on other days of the week. Sometimes we open for an out of town visitor who can’t come on Saturday. We need people who can be "on call." Volunteer with your neighbor, best friend, sibling child, grandchild, or spouse. If there are no visitors, you get a chance to visit. If there are lots, you have a great time sharing!
The museum is open 1-3 p.m. on Saturdays. Pick up the key at the library, and return it there when you are done. You arrive before 1 to turn on lights, heat and to put up signs. When people come, you have them sign in, give them an introductory talk, and offer either to show them the museum or give them a self-guided tour. You do need to be able to do at least the two stairs into the unit. It is best if you can do the stairs to the basement and second floor, but if not, we may be able to pair you with another person who can do that.
Please come give this a try!