by Steven Dugan
Around 2013 the museum created a new category of volunteer—the Community Service Volunteer. This position was created to offer volunteer hours to students in order to satisfy volunteer service requirements for graduation and/or a club. These hard-working young people help us out with our two large festivals, the Victorian Fair and Ticket to the Twenties, but have also helped with smaller events. One such student is Rosie Catron, a recent graduate of Whittier High School, whose first exposure to the Homestead was in our Curator Camp program. She joined us as a Community Service Volunteer in 2017 and decided to stick around for a while longer; and we’re grateful that she did.
Before she heads out to college (more on that later), Rosie took the trip of a lifetime to Europe. She visited Paris, Brugge in Belgium (a city in the Flemish region of the country and whose historic city center is a UNESCO [United Nations] World Heritage Site), finishing with Haarlem and Amsterdam in the Netherlands. Having taken French for four years in high school, Rosie shared it was fun to utilize her language skills throughout the trip. We asked her to share her experiences here at the museum and some of her plans for the future. You’ll find her comments insightful, witty, and coming from someone who is excited for her next adventure. While she is going away to college in the fall, we hope she will visit the museum when she can.
Tell us about your first visit to the Homestead. What do you remember?
I first visited the Homestead when I was in elementary school, participating in the museum’s Curator Camp program, wherein we got to look at different parts of the museum from the perspective of a curator. I remember learning about how to take care of the polar bear rug and actually getting to see collections up-close. It was a very cool experience for my friends and I, and it certainly made an impression on me.
What made you decide to volunteer at the museum?
First, I initially needed hours for a club at school and from my experiences at the Homestead when I was younger, I knew it would be a unique place I would actually have fun volunteering at, so I decided to apply. Even after completing the requirements needed for high school clubs long ago, I’ve enjoyed sticking around.
What projects have you found the most interesting to work on, and why?
Oddly enough my favorite thing to do at the Homestead is working in the store, as well as helping with crafts or games at events during the summer. In the store, you get a good sampling of all the visitors at the Homestead and I like meeting all the different people. Everyone is always so passionate to learn. Also, the events at the Homestead like the summer picnic series are always so well done, and the grounds are so pretty. In a full circle moment, this summer I’m going to be working in collections a bit for which I am very excited!
What role do you see museums playing in people’s lives?
I think one of the most important things museums do is that they tangibly connect people to the past. The museums in Europe were like nothing I’ve seen before, because many had already been museums for hundreds of years. It would take days to fully explore and appreciate them. My favorites were the Centre Pompidou (a contemporary art museum in Paris) and the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. Getting to see artifacts and art in Europe I’ve only read about for the past 4 years in person made everything more real and meaningful. They help bring communities and different types of people together for the common goal of appreciating and preserving things of importance. They help to continually educate the public whether you’re in school or not. Overall, I think museums have a very positive impact on people’s lives by facilitating growth of education and culture.
You’re off to UC Berkeley in the fall! Do you know what you want to study?
I was accepted into Berkeley’s College of Natural Resources which is their sub-school dedicated to the environmental and biological sciences. So as of now, I’m planning to major in something there, although I am interested in computer science as well. I’ve found it to be pretty rare for universities to have an entire sub-school dedicated to the environmental sciences, so being in the College of Natural Resources is really exciting for me.
What are some of your favorite hobbies?
In an alternate universe, I would be heading off to culinary school in the fall because I love to cook and bake! I also enjoy reading, collecting rocks, and participating in escape rooms with friends (an “Escape Room Game” is a live‐action, team‐based game where players cooperatively discover clues, solve puzzles, and accomplish tasks in one or more rooms in order to progress and accomplish a specific goal in a limited amount of time. The person or team that “escapes” the room in the shortest amount of time wins).