THOMASTON, Maine — Ginger Allison of Owls Head loves to don 18th century garb and share her love of history with anyone who stops in at Montpelier, the General Henry Knox Museum off Route 1 in Thomaston.
Rosemary Vogt of Rockport is an archivist and an assistant to the art director at the Farnsworth Art Museum, where the staff says that her work is indispensable.
“I love being here in the museum,” said Vogt. “It’s one of my favorite places.”
And for the two museums, Vogt and Allison are among their favorite people. That’s because they’re volunteers.
“For any nonprofit, volunteers are vital and play a vital role,” said Niki Dabrio, volunteer and events coordinator at the Farnsworth Art Museum. “For us, they do take the place of staff that we aren’t able to hire — and they’re our biggest ambassadors.”
Dabrio and Susan Edmands of the Knox Museum say that the volunteers are so great that they want to recruit more of them — a lot more. That’s why they are holding the region’s first-ever Volunteer Job Fair & Celebration of Service on Saturday, May 30.
Other organizations which depend on volunteers will be there, too, including Aldemere Farm, Owls Head Transportation Museum, The Center for Maine Contemporary Art, the Maine Lighthouse Museum, Penobscot Bay Regional Chamber of Commerce, the Friends of the Rockland Breakwater Lighthouse, the Finnish Heritage House and the Warren Historical Society.
“We came up with the idea after President Obama’s national call for volunteer service,” Dabrio said.
Edmands said that she’s hoping to find a dozen more folks who have an interest in history to staff her museum.
“That’s my mission. To recruit,” she said.
But it’s not all about what the volunteers can do for the organizations, the women said.
“The goal is to unite the community,” Edmands said of the fair.
With a variety of groups that need help, there’s almost certain to be a match for a volunteer’s skills, experience and passions. For example, some of the Knox Museum’s 65 volunteers contribute only by baking bread, cookies, brownies and pies for special events. Others weed the gardens. Docents at the Farnsworth are giving a rigorous year-long training so that they really get to know the museum’s art collection. Volunteers serve on the all-important boards of trustees and boards of directors.
They also have fun, Edmands said.
“You make new friends. You learn and get to do something, and you can give back to your community,” she said. “We wouldn’t have them if they didn’t want to be there.”
The event will take place from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, May 30, in the Farnsworth’s library. For more information about the 2009 volunteer fair, call Niki Dabrio at 596-6457, ext. 143.
Niki Dabrio of the Farnsworth Art Museum, Rockland; Susan Edmands, museum manager at Montpelier, Thomaston; and volunteer Ginger Allison of Owls Head are planning Midcoast Maine’s first Volunteer Job Fair and Celebration of Service on Saturday, May 30, at the Farnsworth. Organizers Dabrio and Edmands are looking for a few good men and women to join their volunteer ranks. ABIGAIL CURTIS/MIDCOAST BEACON