Volunteer Spotlight: Cecilia Lombardi

by Steven Dugan

This month’s Volunteer Spotlight celebrates Cecilia Lombardi, a Homestead volunteer docent since 1992. On her original volunteer application, Cecilia expressed that the Homestead fascinated her and that she had always been interested in history and all things nostalgic. Moreover, she aptly wrote that she “wanted to learn more about the museum and share it with everyone.” Throughout Cecilia’s career in office administration, she has always found time to volunteer. Whether it’s working at her church or her children’s schools, helping people is one of Cecilia’s strongest qualities. We asked her to share her memories of being introduced to the museum, becoming a volunteer, and her perspective on what the museum means to her and the community. Thank you, Cecilia, for being such a wonderful ambassador for the Homestead!

Cecilia at Rancho Festival
Cecilia in La Casa Nueva during the Homestead’s Romance of the Rancho festival.

You have been a docent for over 25 years!  What motivates you to continue giving tours?

Each tour and every event is as exciting as it was from my first days as a volunteer. To have people enjoy and relate to the Workman and Temple family history and respond with their own stories is great. Most visitors seem more relaxed, friendly, and outgoing as the tour unfolds. Their positive experience and reactions make my efforts worth every minute.

What attracted you to volunteering for the museum?

Field trips with my children through Los Altos Elementary School and the Boy Scouts first introduced me to the museum. I couldn’t believe the jewel that was right here in my own backyard. I was intrigued then and I am still.

What are some other museums you have visited that have made an impression on you?

From Gettysburg to the Getty and the Railroad Museum for Children in Brea, I feel right at home [at museums]. Whenever and wherever I am travelling, museums call to me. I so appreciate the people that establish, staff, and support each museum I visit.

Cecilia and Mitzy - Vol Dinner 2017.jpg
Cecilia and fellow volunteer Mitzy Nigh at the 2017 Volunteer Appreciation Dinner.

What are some of your favorite events here at the Homestead? How have they changed during the time you have been a docent?

My favorite events at the Homestead have always been the special period events (e.g. our Ticket to the Twenties festival). It is wonderful to see teenagers, couples, and entire families enjoying the sights and activities. Now, I am awestruck by the staff-led workshops (Genealogy, Photo Preservation, etc.), along with Paul’s incredible lectures on California crimes and scandals. Events at the museum get better every year.

What do you want visitors to come away with after they go on a tour?

If visitors ask questions and then offer comments about their own ancestors, it seems that history comes alive for them. I’d like them to remember that like the Workman and Temple families, we all have a story to tell.

Why do you think Homestead visitors keep coming back to visit?

When visitors are leaving a tour or special event, it’s nice to hear that they had a good time and will return with friends and family.  The charm of the site and the drama of early California history and the Workman and Temple families seem to be magnetic.

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