Find your muse at the museum

By Chelsea Bestow

DeKalb | Three local museums are looking for volunteers as their busy season quickly approaches.

Anyone interested in local history, museum curation or volunteering over the summer may find an opportunity at a local museum.

One of the locations that offers these opportunities is the Joseph F. Glidden Homestead & Historical Center 921 W. Lincoln Hwy. in DeKalb. Glidden Homestead was once the home of Joseph Glidden, inventor of the most popular type of barbed wire, according to the historical center’s website..

“Our location is so convenient to NIU that we love students to take advantage of volunteer opportunities,” said Marcia Wilson executive director of Glidden Homestead.

Volunteers at Glidden Homestead act as tour guides, perform building maintenance, help develop exhibits, garden, help with special events and fundraise, among other tasks.

“Now is the perfect time to volunteer because our season opens May 22,” Wilson said.

Another local museum that is in need of volunteers over the summer is the Ellwood House Museum, 509 N. First St. in DeKalb, which is a mansion built by Isaac L. Ellwood in 1879 and is now a National Register Historic Site.

“We are always looking for volunteers,” said Brian Reis, Ellwood House executive director. “We work with NIU quite a bit. If someone wishes to volunteer, they can check our website for the volunteer [and] intern positions available.”

Animal lovers can volunteer at Sycamore’s Midwest Museum of Natural History, 425 W. State St.

“We are in need of volunteers to assist with live animal care,” said Molly Holman, executive director of Midwest Museum of Natural History. “We have about 30 animals at the museum, mostly reptiles, and their care takes a lot of time each day.”

Students interested in volunteering at the MMNH should visit the museum’s website, click on the “support us” link and download an application.

Another option for museum volunteering is the Sycamore History Museum, 1730 N. Main St.

Some areas that its volunteers work in include gardening, tour guides, research, filing, mailing and preparing exhibits.

“If someone has time we can find a job for them,” said Michelle Donahoe, executive director of Sycamore History Museum. “We have had several NIU students volunteer at the museum, and they are wonderful.”

Those interested in volunteering at the Sycamore History Museum can call to set up a tour of the museum and discuss individual volunteer interests.

“We really are dependent on volunteers at SHM,” Donahoe said. “Last year we had over 117 volunteers work over 3,000 hours.”