SHERIDAN — More than 30 volunteers gathered at the Trail End Museum on Saturday, Nov. 17 to help decorate the museum for the holidays. While the museum has relied on adult volunteers for most years, curator and assistant superintendent Sharie Prout began incorporating younger volunteers three years ago.
“This the third year the kids have come,” said Prout. “The kids are part of the Hands On History Junior Curator Camp I run in the summer. The first year I started doing the camp, they were just so interested and wanted to come back and do more stuff. So at Christmas I sent them a letter and they all showed up!”
All eight camp members showed up the first year, with six coming the second year. Prout said the kids really enjoy being part of the decorating process and particularly like being able to go into parts of the museum that regular visitors don’t get to see.
“They love going behind the scenes,” said Prout. “They get to go behind the ropes and Plexiglas. They have a ball, which is great. They are very energetic.”
“I had so much fun in the junior curator program that I wanted to come back,” said eighth grader Abigail Johnson, who volunteered for this year’s decorating. “I love it. I really want to work at a museum when I grow up, so this is really fun.”
Photo by Christina Schmidt | The Sheridan Press
Trails End Museum: Ninth grade volunteers Gabbie Moore, left, and Katelyn Brooks, string garland while decorating the ballroom at the Trails End Museum on Saturday.
Having the added volunteers has cut the decorating time from an all day event, to just three or four hours.
“Pretty much every horizontal surface has some sort of decoration on it!” said Prout. “There are three floors of decorating.”
The morning begins with an orientation for all volunteers, letting them know rules about what can be handled and what should be left alone. The group then gets busy putting up seven Christmas trees, ornaments, garland, poinsettias, lights, pine cones and more.
“Since I was little, I have come around here for Christmas and being able to come help set things up is kind of special,” said ninth grade volunteer Katelyn Brooks.
Some of the decorations are original to the Kendrick family, such as ornaments, toys and a small tabletop Christmas tree, and these are carefully put out by Prout after the main decorations are up. She also spends time putting together the Kendrick family’s original nativity scene on the piano in the drawing room.
The decorations are all in place by the time the museum hosts its annual open house. The open house this year is Dec. 7-9 from 4 to 7 p.m. each evening. Local musicians will provide music throughout the evening and figgy pudding and hot spiced cider are served. Cost is $2 per adult and children under 17 are free if accompanied by an adult.
Prout said taking down of decorations is scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 15 and she welcomes additional volunteers for that day. Contact the museum at 674-4589 for more information.