Saturday, December 14, 2013

AT Museum Volunteer Newsletter - Volume 1, Issue 2

Volume 1, Issue 2 - December, 2013

Welcome back.  Here's the latest news and happening at the AT Museum


Hall of Fame Nominations Wanted (and HOF Committee members)

Nominations are now open for the 2014 class of the Appalachian Trail Hall of Fame.  Nominations will be accepted until February 28, 2014.  The nominees should be people who've made a significant positive contribution to the AT.

The easiest way to submit a nomination is by using the online form

Nominations may also be submitted using our paper form.  Instructions on where to send the form are on the form.  

The Hall of Fame has been very successful during its first three years.  We've received hundreds of nominations from throughout the Appalachian Trail community and the general public.  

Sixteen trail pioneers have been elected to the Hall of Fame so far:  Myron Avery, Gene Espy, Ed Garvey, Benton MacKaye, Arthur Perkins, Earl Shaffer, Emma “Grandma” Gatewood, David A Richie, J. Frank Schairer, Jean Stephenson, William Adams Welch, Ruth Blackburn, David Field, David Sherman, David Startzell, and Everett (Eddie) Stone.

The 2014 Hall of Fame class will be honored at the 2014 Hall of Fame Banquet, to be held on June 6, 2014 at Allenberry Resort in Boiling Springs, PA.

Jim Foster is the Hall of Fame Committee Chairman.  If you want to help out with the planning and execution of the Dinner and other events, let me (Joe) know and I will put you in contact with Jim.  Just click on my name above to open and email window.

Hours of Operation for 2014

2014 Hours of operation
Saturday, March 29 to Sunday, May, 4 – Weekends, noon to 4:00PM
Saturday, May 10 to Sunday July 6 – 9:00AM to 4:00PM every day (two shifts - 9 to Noon and Noon to 4)
Monday, July 7 to Sunday, August 3 – noon to 4:00PM every day
August 6 to November 2 - noon to 4:00PM Wednesday thru Sunday
(Open Labor Day Monday, September 1, and, Columbus Day, Monday, October, 13)
Special Events: Times to be announced

Each shift would ideally have two people, but can be run solo.  Having two makes it easier to handle a large amount of visitors while allowing each to take a break when needed.  

Programs Committee

Each Sunday, during the museum season, the Programs Committee schedules an educational or entertaining program that highlights the museum, the trail or some other local or interesting topic.  Some of our past programs have been authors and artists whose products we sell at the museum, others have been storytellers and interesting people who do exciting things.  The possibilities are boundless, but booking the speakers takes a lot of work.  

Gwen Loose, our current Programs Committee Chairman has been heading the programs since they were conceived.  She is hoping to take a step back and let someone else head the group for the upcoming year.  She plans to be fully involved as usual, but would like someone else to take the lead.  

If you are interested, let me (Joe) know and I will make it happen.  Just click on my name above. 

Happenings and Doings at the Museum

by Joe Harold

The Museum may be closed for the season, but that just means that we are making sure everything is safely stored away for the winter and we are getting ready for next season.  I have been heading up to the museum at least once a week to do small jobs and checking to ensure all is well in the building.

On November 26th, the more delicate items in the exhibits were removed by Graphik Masters Studios to be stored for the winter.  Also on that day, I shut off the water to the building and drained all the pipes.  We will try to maintain some warmth in the building throughout the winter to keep the deterioration of the wall mounted items to the barest minimum.  

Restroom Closed for the Season
The heaters are working hard. 25 outside, 45 inside

The work on the second floor ramp is almost done with phase one and will be continued in the spring, when the weather shifts back to a more agreeable outdoor work environment. 

I will continue to monitor the building and its contents throughout the winter season and plan on heading up there on a regular basis.  I love the drive up from the congested city in Maryland to the beautiful rural atmosphere of south, central PA.  The transformation is wondrous.  

I am also working restocking the best selling items in the retail store and maybe even adding a new item or two.  

Volunteer Referral Program

I am always looking for new volunteers to help with all the things that need to be done at the museum, from acting as a Docent/Greeter, to cutting the grass and doing other duties that are required to keep the museum up and running.  As always, this is something that can't be done alone.  Therefore, I have proposed a Volunteer Referral Program with rewards to those who pass the word and stir up the excitement of volunteering at the museum.  

In recognition of faithful service

I have already talked to prospective volunteers who heard about being a Docent from someone who is already serving.  It is a great way to grow our force of volunteers and keeps our reserves fresh.  

We are still working out the details of what we will present as awards, but it will most likely be a multi level award system consisting of credit towards the museum store, or maybe even gift cards for local restaurants or other shops.  Your ideas are welcome.  What would you like to receive for your efforts to expand our volunteer workforce?   

Things Coming Down the Trail

February 28th, 2014 - Deadline for Hall of Fame nominations
March, 2014 - Spring Cleanup (actual date TBD)
March, 2014 - Docent Orientation (both experienced and new - date TBD)
March, 29th, 2014 - AT Museum opens for the season

Until next time, I'll be standing by the warm Katahdin sign

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Welcome to the New AT Museum Volunteer Newsletter

Appalachian Trail Museum Volunteer Newsletter

Volume 1, Issue 1 - November, 2013
Hello all,

Joe here. Your new Appalachian Trail Museum manager. I am having a great time doing the job so far. Even though we are in the off season, there is still much to do to get the Grist Mill and the Museum ready for the winter. There is also a lot going on to prepare for next season.

I wanted to find a way to keep in touch with everyone during the off season and this blog is my first attempt at spreading the news of the AT Museum.  This will be the place to come to if you want to see what is going on at the museum.

 I hope to continue this Newsletter throughout the winter and into next season, and hopefully beyond.

AT Museum Holds Volunteer Recognition Dinner

by Joe Harold

On November 9th, 2013, the Appalachian Trail Museum Society held its annual recognition dinner for the Docents and other volunteers that are integral to the success of the museum.  Around thirty guests made their way to the Ironmaster's Mansion at Pine Grove Furnace State Park in Gardners, PA.  The Mansion is a hostel, meeting place and community resource for education, training and events.  It is also only a few hundred yards away from the museum.

Everyone brought something to share and the dinner committee put on quite a spread.  There was plenty for everyone and we feasted to our hearts content until it was time for the recognition ceremony.

Dinner is served

After some words from our president of the AT Museum Society, Larry Luxenberg, we asked the guests to relate stories from their times serving at the museum.  We had some very interesting and funny recounts of the experiences of the Docents, including the giving and receiving of Trail Names and who can meow like Ziggy the best (Nancy wins that one).  After that, Howard Davis, the retiring manager, recalled the contributions of all the volunteers from the 2013 season.  Every shift a Docent contributes is appreciated and each hour was counted and recited.

Howard recounts the Docent accomplishments while Joe hands out
complimentary memberships and this year's volunteer patch

The other chores that are needed at the museum were noted also, such as keeping the grass cut, planting native flowering plants and maintaining the building and its exhibits.  We also made special note to the Artifacts team of Janet Bowen and our intern from Messiah College, Adam Barron.

After the contributions were announced we called up Robert Freeman and Bill Quinn, the co-volunteers of the year.  Robert "Junker" Freeman lives nearby and has helped maintain the lawn this year.  Using his own equipment to keep the grass looking good. His constant promotion of the museum was also noted and it has no doubt brought in not only visitors, but potential volunteers as well.

Robert "Junker" Freeman. 
Bill Quinn
Bill Quinn has served a staggering number of shifts this year and contributed over 150 hours including his work to rehab the old halfway sign that sits outside the museum along the rampatheater.

The evening wasn't complete until we honored Howard and Margy Schmidt the last two managers of the museum.  Howard had served the last two years and had taken what Margy had developed and kept everything running smooth.  Both were presented with hand carved hiking sticks of the same quality that are presented to the annual AT Museum Hall of Fame inductees.

Margy and Howard with their new hiking sticks
Eventually the night came to a close and I, Joe Harold, the brand new manager thanked each of the volunteers and stated that the Grist Mill is just an empty closed building full of exhibits without the contribution of the Docents and other volunteers and it is so very much appreciated.

Much thanks to Roger and Kathy, the caretakers of the Ironmaster's Mansion for providing the perfect venue for the dinner and to the Recognition Dinner Committee of Gwen Loose, Margy Schmidt, Georgia Freet, Janet Bowen and Howard Davis whose planning and hard work made for a festive atmosphere for the dinner.

I'm looking forward to working with each and every one of you and I truly appreciate the time you give us, no matter how much you can afford to give.


VolunteerSpot - The new way to sign up for a Docent Shift

by Joe Harold

When I started to figure out all the things a manager has to do to help keep the museum open and running, I came across an email that advertised a website that makes it easy for non-profit entities to organize their volunteers.  I started playing with the site and before long I knew we would be trying this out at the end of the 2013 season and if all went well, it would be our method of scheduling Docent shifts and other things in the upcoming season.

Volunteer Spot Logo

I received a lot of positive feedback about the site and we will be using it to organize the Docent shifts, and other work parties that crop up over the course of the season.  It is very easy to navigate and doesn't really require any registration.  Just your email, which is never shared.  One of the great things about this program is it will let me know when someone signs up, summarize the upcoming week and automatically send a reminder to the volunteer a couple days before their shift.  From a manager's viewpoint, it really helps me out.

From within the site, we have a Group Page that will list all the upcoming events and you can click on any listed event to go to the signup area.  Right now the only event you will see is the 2014 season of Docent shifts.  You can start signing up now if you want, but you may want to bookmark this link for quick reference in the future.

There is also a direct link to the 2014 AT Museum Greeters Sign up and if you follow the instructions below and click on the link provided, you will be taken straight to the signup page.  You can also click on the handy dandy button on the right of this Blog, up near the top.

To sign up for a Docent shift during the 2014 season, just follow the instructions below.

Please sign up for AT Museum Greeters Sign Up 2014 - here's how it works in 3 easy steps:
   1. Click this link to go to our invitation page on VolunteerSpot:
   2. Enter your email address: (You will NOT need to register an account on VolunteerSpot) 
   3. Sign up! Choose your spots - VolunteerSpot will send you an automated confirmation and reminders. Easy!
Note: VolunteerSpot does not share your email address with anyone. If you prefer not to use your email address, please contact me and I can sign you up manually.

What's Happening at the Museum Now and in the Near Future

by Joe Harold

The 2013 season has come to an end, but there is still a little hustle and bustle at the old Grist Mill.  If you have driven by the museum lately, you will see the work on the new ramp to the second floor is underway.  Jack Adams is heading that job and the preliminary work shows that we will have a nice ramp up to the second floor that fully adheres to ADA policies.  There is just a little more work to be done before the Winter sets in, but it will be restarted in the Spring and before long, we will be able to start on the development of the second floor for new exhibits.  If you see a call come out for a ramp work crew, and you like to work with your hands and maybe swing a hammer or run a saw, chime in and come on over to help out.
The new ramp on the north side of the Grist Mill
We also have the yearly removal and storage of the museum exhibits which will be taking place on November 26th and shortly after that I will be winterizing the building and settling it in for its long winter nap.

I have done an inventory of our retail items and I will be checking all my data over the winter and ordering the items that seem to sell well.  If anyone has any ideas or input on the retail items, I'm open to suggestions.

Until Next Time

Well, that's about it for this issue.  Just like running the museum, I don't do this alone.  If you want to write an article or have some topic you would like to see covered, just let me know and we will work it out.  Find me at

I'll be seeing you,
Joe Harold
AT Museum Manager