by Steven Dugan
This month’s Staff Spotlight introduces local resident and Homestead Volunteer Steve Loera, who joined us in 2018. He is very interested in giving tours and is still going through docent training to add to his administrative duties at the museum. Steve remembers visiting the museum during an elementary school field trip that sparked his interest in history at an early age. We asked him more about his museum experiences as a visitor and now as a volunteer.
Why did you want to become a docent?
Well, I was impressed with touring La Casa Nueva as a young boy. I already had an interest in history, and after that first visit, I would periodically visit the museum. And after a visit last year, I realized my affection for the museum was still there, so I decided to volunteer.
Since you recently went through docent training were there any stories that you connected with? Why?
I’ve connected with the visitors I’ve met while volunteering. The first event I worked was the Sorrowful Soiree late last year. I had a great time seeing people enjoy the various activities that were on the grounds. I also enjoyed interacting with guests, answering their questions, and getting to hear a story or two from them. Another enjoyable experience I had with visitors was at the recent Behind-the-Scenes tours the museum had last weekend. I got to see guests’ reactions to the tours and hear great questions (which I learned from as well). It’s a rewarding experience to know that other people have an interest in the past and have taken the time to learn about this historical site.
Is there anything about the families that you didn’t know before that impressed you?
What I knew about the families were basic facts; such as their journey to California, their cattle business, the Temple family’s discovery of oil, and that the family had a series of misfortunes. The word tenacity comes to mind when putting the family’s history into perspective. With the many highs and lows the family endured, they held on. In my opinion, Walter Temple personified the word tenacity through his love for his family, his family’s history, and their traditions.
How would you describe the Homestead to people who have never visited?
It’s a walk back in time. You can let your imagination flow and wander as you learn about this particular family and the times they lived in. You’ll also get to see and walk through an awe-inspiring home. You may even get ideas for your own home as well.
When you are not volunteering at the museum, what are some other ways you like to spend your time?
When I’m not at the Homestead or at work, I spend my time hanging out with my dogs, reading, keeping up with current events in the world, and going out and enjoying life in California.