by Steven Dugan
It is our pleasure to introduce you to Jose Castro, a Homestead volunteer since 2018. Jose had great timing when he joined the volunteer staff—docent training was about to begin, and he jumped in feet first! He has recently been observing other docents giving tours and has given a few tours on his own. We have no doubt that he’ll be on the regular schedule very soon. We asked him a little bit about himself, how he found the museum, and his experiences now that he’s worked at a few special events and given tours.
How did you discover the Homestead Museum?
After a visit to the museum, I decided to be a docent and help share the history of the museum.
You are a student at Cal Poly Pomona and working. What inspired you to make time for volunteering at the museum?
It is important that we learn about history. The Homestead Museum is our history as a community and city. This is a place where families lived and it’s important to know about them and their relationships with our city and state.
When you were going through docent training you expressed that you felt nervous about giving tours. How did you work through your nerves?
It is really difficult, but I try to enjoy our visitors and see how they learn about the museum. I also try to have a relaxed conversation with them.
What do you like most about interacting with visitors?
I enjoy when they ask questions and they are interested in learning. Also, it’s fun to help them realize that there are streets and schools all around us named after the people who lived here like Temple, Workman, and Rowland.
You quickly became an advocate for the museum, often sharing our social media posts on your own platforms and with your college clubs. Why is it important for you to do that?
A lot of people do not know about the museum. They get surprised when I share the events and the posts. Social media is a way to get the younger generations involved and they love to learn about topics that are trending today that were important in the past like women’s rights, or sports like baseball.
And what do you tell people when they ask you about the museum?
I tell them to visit. I tell people that the old [Workman] House was owned by one of the most important citizens in the valley in the 1800s and La Casa Nueva is a beautiful house from the 1920s. It is free and it is supported by the City of Industry to preserve and study the history of La Puente and the San Gabriel Valley. It is a way to bring kids and young adults together to learn about the land where we live today.
When you are not at the museum, what other activities do you enjoy?
I like to read and listen to music. I enjoy spending time with my nephew playing soccer and visiting museums around the area.