Welcome to this month’s edition of History & Heritage. Our purpose is to acquaint you with our mission to preserve the town’s rich history, highlight the legacy of those who have gone before and show how our past has shaped our present. We are a non-profit with 501(c)(3) status.
We are located at 421 Summer Street. Our winter hours are Monday – Wednesday 10a.m. – 4p.m. At the present time we are requiring the wearing of masks. Admission is by donation. This is your establishment andwe encourage your support in making this historic home and barn a wonderful place for exhibiting, preserving and collecting St. Johnsbury’s history. Browse our web site at www.stjhistory.org and our Facebook page. Our mailing address is 421 Summer Street, St. Johnsbury, Vt., 05819 and phone number is 802 – 424 – 1090.
Covid Reflections & Volunteering at its Best
When Covid entered our lives and removed the word normal from our daily routines, it was like hitting the pause button, and you never knew for how long. My reflections with History & Heritage was dealing with the highs and lows; the “woulda, shoulda, coulda” choices and then of course there were Covid’s sidekicks that lengthened the isolation feeling! Covid shut our doors for a bit, silenced the ghosts of Mt. Pleasant, forced the traditional craft people to take shelter, crept into the ranks of the band members, cancelling the Veteran’s Day concert, and put the Holiday treats and crafts on hold for another year. We did manage to sneak in a St. J. Band concert on our grounds in July when there was a lull in the cases of Covid, and Jen & Sue did manage to give out treats on Halloween from the front porch using tubes as the delivery! We can only hope for a more public face this year.
On the brighter side of History & Heritage reflection, there are our volunteers. To borrow a popular catch phrase, “there’s an app for that.” It goes like this:
When the lawn needed mowing – there was a volunteer for that
When the gardens needed a facelift – there was a volunteer for that
When the drive needed plowing and or sanding – there was a volunteer for that
When we wanted to put back the summer house – there was a volunteer for that
When open to the public – there were volunteers for that
When toilet paper or paper towels dwindle – there is a volunteer for that
When the recycling baskets are full – there is a volunteer for that
When something needs to be posted on the web or Facebook – there is a volunteer for that
When exhibits need to be changed out – there are volunteers for that
When new collections are given – there are volunteers for that – numbering, cataloging, putting info into the computer and storing correctly for the best preservation
When bills needed to be paid – there was a volunteer for that
When the place needs checking after cold nights – there is a volunteer for that
When the floors need someone to push the vacuum cleaner – there is a volunteer for that
When we need a volunteer coordinator – there is a volunteer for that
There are more apps, I mean volunteers, but I think you get my meaning. From the seed planted for the History & Heritage Center over ten years ago, the volunteers have been there and continue to grow. In no way, am I forgetting all the volunteers that opened up their checkbooks to support and continue to support the Center. It is because of all volunteers that History & Heritage has grown and become a destination.
My reflection on this subject is driven by the often heard question, “what’s going to happen when Peggy’s gone?” My concern is not that but rather the continuation of the army of volunteers that provide for the well being of St. Johnsbury’s History & Heritage Center. I, like any other director, will fade into the sunset and I say this with the full understanding of the fact that no one is indispensible! The well being of this group along with recruitment of new ones is what is critical. There is, I believe, a sense of ownership with this group in that this is a Center worth preserving and showcasing the roots of St. Johnsbury.
I think it is fair to say that the one thing the volunteers would wish for is more visitors. I believe that it is on many “ta do” lists but you just haven’t got there. I would encourage all to move “the visit” a little closer to the top of your list and come by now that Covid seems to be lessoning – we hope. In all honesty, we have not heard one derogatory remark after their visit: more to the point is, “wow, I didn’t realize what you had!” Don’t take my word for it – come and see for yourself the selfless efforts of this merry band of volunteers!!