Many joys from volunteering

Amanda Turco

Days before Christmas, longtime Rainy River District Women’s Institute Museum (Pioneer Museum) volunteer Tina Visser was presented with the book, “We Were Not Worried at Dinner Time,” signed by the author, that the museum published back in the fall.
Visser, who turned 96 in November, her late husband, Lourens, as well as their children and grandchildren have donated much of their time, money, and possessions to the museum in Emo for more than 30 years.
This includes knitting Visser did when she attended school in Friesland in The Netherlands, which currently is on display at the Pioneer Museum.
Museum reps have presented Visser, as well as other volunteers like Margaret Rahn and Marcine James, with this book as a token of their appreciation for everything their hard-working volunteers have done for their institution.
As Visser can attest, volunteering is a very worthwhile activity. By volunteering, one can gain access to behind-the-scenes areas of a museum that most of the public will never see and learn about the work that really goes on in all museums large or small.
Volunteers also have many opportunities to learn more about the history of their community—and even about their own families.
The most valuable thing that volunteers gain is the chance to meet new and interesting people who share a common interest in history.
The Pioneer Museum benefits from the work that volunteers provide, as well. While receiving her book, Visser reminisced about Helen Smith-Hammond, who enriched the Pioneer Museum’s environment, when she was volunteering, because of the vast knowledge she could impart about the history of Rainy River District.
As a small museum like the Pioneer Museum, volunteers also run many aspects of the institution. They take care of and preserve artifacts, help set up exhibits, and partake in the important task of fundraising.
By giving to the museum, the museum can give back then to the community.
The community is very important to museums, and is the reason heritage institutions exist in the first place.
With the help of volunteers, museums can better educate the community and, through communication and sharing, even bring a community together.
Volunteering is a rewarding occupation for the individual volunteering and the institution.
If you would like to volunteer at the Pioneer Museum or to donate more than your time, call 482-3991 or stop by at 21 Tyrell St. in Emo from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. on Monday through Friday.
Editor’s note: Amanda Turco is a museum assistant intern at the Rainy River District W.I. Museum in Emo.