By Olivia Montes
Elm Staff Writer
From the annual Tea Party Festival to historic house tours, history comes to life in Kent County. The Historical Society of Kent County is interested in involving Washington College student volunteers in their mission to promote and preserve local history.
“Students can get involved by simply emailing me to start a conversation,” said Amanda Tuttle-Smith, the deputy director and curator at the Historical Society.
The society offers a wide variety of volunteer opportunities for WC students, primarily those who are interested in gaining hands-on museum experience.
According to their website, the Historical Society’s volunteer opportunities include working at the museum itself or the shop, organizing files in the library, hosting special events, providing house tours for visitors, and sending newsletters to members.
The society is especially seeking student help with processing archival materials and digitizing their collections, although most volunteers become involved in multiple projects.
“I have had a WC intern working with me for the past four years, and they do a little bit of everything,” Tuttle-Smith said. “It never ends here so they are always busy.”
Senior Brianna Bricker volunteered at the Historical Society last year.
“I was basically just an intern doing whatever my boss needed. I went through donated documents and artifacts to see what we could use, helped curate rotating exhibits, decorated the public access areas, and gave tours of historic places around Chestertown,” she said.
Senior Kaitlyn Peacock, a volunteer for the Kent County Historical Society for her entire college career, encouraged students to get involved with the Chestertown community through volunteer work.
“Anyone can volunteer at the Historical Society. As with] most organizations in Chestertown if you have an interest and are willing to donate your time many places will take it. This includes. Women in Need, Kent County Public Schools, ASPCA, the Public Library, Horizons, and Garfield Theater,” Peacock said.
Many positions at the Historical Society could be beneficial to students looking to obtain careers in museums or archives.
“I think the internship helped me with hands on curatorial work and public speaking. I’d recommend it to anyone who’s interested in history, especially on the Eastern Shore,” Bricker said.
In addition to giving back to the community, volunteering can help students stimulate personal interests. For Peacock, this involved working directly with the public.
“I have done several volunteer opportunities including working with Horizons kids and teaching at Garnet Elementary School. For both it was a lot of program development and making sure the kids feel comfortable and having fun while doing activities,” she said.
Peacock encouraged students who may end up volunteering with the Historical Society or another institution to be creative about involving the campus as a whole.
“If someone is interested in creating more opportunities or getting more involved in volunteering on or off campus they should reach out to Sarah Tansits (Assistant Director of Student Engagement),” she said.
Students interested in volunteering at the Historical Society of Kent County should contact Tuttle-Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Historical Society is located in town at 301 High St. and is open from Wednesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.