by Steven Dugan
This month’s Volunteer Spotlight features Teresa Lin, who has been an administrative volunteer at the museum since 2015. In addition to being very active in her church, she is a doting mother and grandmother, making frequent trips to the Bay Area. When she isn’t visiting her children and grandchildren, traveling the world, or writing poetry, Teresa can often be found here at the Homestead greeting visitors at the front desk, running a drop-in craft activity, or helping Public Programs prepare materials for school tours. We asked Teresa to share more about her travels, passions, and experiences volunteering here at the Homestead
How did you discover the Homestead Museum?
The Homestead Museum is a hidden treasure. About thirty years ago, while driving along Hacienda Blvd., I noticed this large and long red brick sign: ‘City of Industry Historic-Cultural Landmarks – Workman and Temple Family Homestead.’ My curiosity led me to the museum.
I was amazed by the beauty of the stained glass windows, the intricate carved woodwork, and the colorful tilework in La Casa Nueva. The Spanish Colonial architecture and garden impressed me very much.
What made you choose to be an administrative volunteer at the Homestead?
I had searched for a few establishments in the area [that offered] volunteering. It was then that I saw the Homestead’s website welcoming bilingual volunteers. That prompted me to click the link because I speak Taiwanese and Mandarin.
After my interview and volunteer training, I chose to work as an administrative volunteer. I’m thinking about adding Collections care and docent programs later.
Three years have passed and I am still very comfortable doing what I do. As an administrative volunteer, I cover telephones and greet guests when needed, assist with sorting archive paperwork so it can be scanned into the museum’s database, and prepare name tags for visiting school students. In addition, I distribute periodical flyers and brochures to libraries and community centers, participate in small events on and off site, and facilitate craft tables for enthusiasts young and old at our spring and fall festivals.
As the museum’s events and programs actively revolve and evolve, working with the Homestead’s talented staff at the museum has been a very rewarding experience.
You always seem to be traveling and going on adventures. What is one of your favorite trips in recent memory?
Last July, I traveled to Machu Picchu, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, almost 8,000 feet above sea level in Peru.
The magnificent view, the tranquility of isolated ruins, and the tidy farm terraces have inspired me tremendously. It has attracted millions of visitors worldwide since its first expedition by an American more than one hundred years ago.
It is worth noting that one of the most impressive site-constructions at Machu Picchu is the irrigation system. The farm terraces received so much rain that well-calculated and positioned drainages were built specifically to allow the extra water flow. Today, almost five hundred years later, these drainages are still functioning – what terrific Inca engineering!
Like many of our volunteers, you are not new to volunteerism. What other volunteer experience do you have?
I feel fulfilled by giving my time to others, either through organizations or on my own. Prior to my volunteering at the museum, I advocated for victims of social crime. When I saw [a] family move on with the resources provided, I was immensely grateful.