The museum welcomes volunteers of all ages and skills. Described below are some volunteer opportunities, but whatever your background or interests, please do call the museum (413) 528-6888 or email to discuss what you might do.
♦ Trail Maintenance: Spring jobs include trail work and general yard work such as raking leaves. These jobs require little experience and a lot of enthusiasm. The museum’ s 192 acres of woodlands are laced with a system of hiking trails which require clearing at the end of the winter months. Fallen branches and trees must be cleared and trail markers updated.
♦ Tour Guide: The job of tour guide, or docent, is a wonderful opportunity for anyone who loves American history and likes to meet visitors from all over the country. Tour guides are trained in the art of historic interpretation. They accompany visitors through the museum and tell the story of the house, the Bidwell family, and the collections. Tour guide volunteers can work one day a week, or once a month, or be available as needed and their schedule allows.
Gardening: The Bidwell House gardens are cared for by the “Garden Angels“, a volunteer group led by Ruth Green, certified horticulturist and the museum’s head gardener. Come take a look on a Saturday when the Garden Angels are on the museum schedule. You can learn all about the extensive perennial beds, an herb garden and the heritage vegetable garden. All levels of gardening expertise are welcome. This is a great opportunity for the novice gardener to gain experience and knowledge. Garden work takes place from April through October. Call the museum to learn more.
♦ Office Work: There are many office tasks available throughout the year. This work involves updating the membership records and helping with mailings. Computer knowledge can be put to good use.
♦ Events: Special events at the museum are organized by volunteer committees. Many skills are needed: planning, postering, greeting, ticket taking, photographing, set up and clean up, parking attendants, and fielding phone calls on the day of the event. Museum events are great fun and a wonderful way to support the Bidwell House.
Most non-profit organizations could not exist without volunteers. Time and expertise donated by volunteers provides valuable help, which keeps these organizations operating. Usually running on a very tight budget, nonprofits often cannot hire enough work force to accomplish all the tasks needed. In come the volunteers, sometimes literally with their shovels and hammers, to get the work done.
Volunteering is a win/win situation. The nonprofit wins by getting a work force without paying an hourly rate. The volunteer wins by gaining satisfaction in helping a community resource i.e. help for the greater good of all. Additional advantages are the social benefits of meeting and working with other generous and interesting people; also, volunteering can often act as on-the-job training, which can sometimes lead to a new career in the nonprofit field.