Who loves history more than the members of the Vicksburg Historical Society? The board of this passionate group of people is hoping that a lot of other members of the community also have an interest in their forebears. An immediate goal is to enlarge the displays and offerings housed in the eight buildings on the grounds of the Historic Village. To do this, more volunteer docents are needed, according to Ted Vliek, president of the board.
“We want to make history come alive for school kids and people in our community,” Vliek said. “To do that, we know we need to open wide the doors of the buildings and invite people in on a regular basis. Our new hours of operation when we open in May will be from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Wednesday through Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday. The collection of artifacts has expanded by leaps and bounds over the last few years. Now we want to share them with tourist groups, school students and the community at large.”
There is a catch in these plans, Vliek said. “We need people to help interpret the history contained within these walls.” Two training sessions have been scheduled for volunteers in April to prepare them to describe exhibits to visitors. The first one is scheduled for Wednesday, April 20 from 6-8 p.m. The second one will be held on Sunday, April 24 from noon-2 p.m. at the Depot Museum, including a walk around the Historic Village’s buildings, housing its displays.
“People are needed to recreate a working village in period dress, including a farmer, teacher, blacksmith, conductor, print shop operator, ticket master, store clerks, and even a mayor of the village,” Vliek said. “Many loyal volunteers have worked in the Depot Museum over the years. It is hoped they will attend the training and continue to offer their time to help the village come alive.”
Volunteers can choose to work as little as two hours at a time or half a day if they wish to, said Kathleen Hoyle, who is organizing this educational effort. It’s her belief that the Downtown Development Authority (DDA) will benefit by bringing tour buses in to spend some time walking through the Historic Village and then inspecting Vicksburg’s downtown as part of a day’s outing. The website of the DDA has several tours listed and she will be actively selling this idea as part of the effort to build the trail, improve the facades of the businesses and upgrade the parking lots.
Anyone interested in volunteering for the training can register by contacting Sue Moore at 649-2453, or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the web site at http://www.VicksburgHistory.org/volunteer-opportunities.