By Steve Smith
contributing writer 

Dedicated volunteers run the Tehachapi Depot Railroad Museum

Friends of the Tehachapi Depot

 

June 10, 2023

Provided.

Docents take an active role in guiding visitors through the museum, engaging them in local railroad history and explaining the exhibits.

Many organizations in Tehachapi are run by enthusiastic, hard working volunteers, and the Tehachapi Depot Railroad Museum is no exception. We depend on our volunteers to operate and maintain the museum for the benefit of our many visitors who come to learn about our local railroad lore. So, what is it our volunteers actually do?

First of all, we have a board of directors who provides guidance and direction to the museum staff. Behind the scenes there are several groups who make the museum happen. Our curator team maintains exhibits, designs new exhibits, receives incoming donations of artifacts (we receive quite a few of these) and catalogs our inventory. Our gift shop manager maintains the inventory of items we sell and keeps the displays attractive and up to date. The special projects team is responsible for major museum development programs such as the relocation and restoration of our recently acquired caboose and the construction of a new Annex. The maintenance team ("Tuesday crew") keeps the museum in good shape – a never-ending task.

Our docents and cashiers, however, are our up-front core unit. These are the volunteers our visitors interact with. Docents take an active role in guiding visitors through the museum, engaging them in local railroad history and explaining the exhibits. The cashiers welcome newcomers to the museum, handle merchandise sales and answer questions about community attractions. An important aspect of the museum that differentiates us from many other railroad museums (large or small) is the proactive, welcoming and engaging attitudes of these volunteers. Since visitors come from across the nation and other countries, these individuals act as ambassadors, not only to the museum but also the community. They help make the museum a memorable experience for our visitors.

Provided.

The cashiers welcome newcomers to the museum, handle merchandise sales and answer questions about community attractions.

However, like many nonprofits, the Pandemic took its toll on our volunteer staff. So, we are embarking upon a recruitment campaign to add to our staff of docents and cashiers. We'll train you and team you up with experienced volunteers. Prior experience, whether in railroad history or being a cashier, is not a requirement. Meeting and talking with people and having a willingness to learn something new and fascinating is all that's needed!

These are volunteer positions; your salary is the satisfaction of knowing you are doing something worthwhile and having fun doing it. It only takes one day a month (a five hour shift), and your schedule can be accommodated even if you are working full time. We are open Fridays through Mondays. Applicants must 18 or older. Contact us to find out more. Call Steve at (661) 305-6217 or email depotmuseum@gmail.com.

 
 

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