The Western Development Museum (WDM) held a volunteer blitz on Nov. 18, with the goal of taking on more volunteers and to remind the public that the WDM is always looking for more people to volunteer for the museum’s programs.
The volunteer workshop was run by the museum’s program and volunteer co-ordinator, Alexis Jones.
During the event, Jones gave a presentation about upcoming volunteer opportunities, outlined a few of the programs offered throughout the year, and concluded the presentation with a museum tour to familiarize new guests with the site.
The event saw a mixture of new individuals as well as current volunteers who were seeking additional opportunities with the museum’s upcoming programs.
“It’s an information session, so it’s to let the public know that we’re always looking for volunteers, and also to inform them of the different volunteer opportunities that we have,” Jones explained.
Currently, the WDM is looking for additional volunteers, with no target number announced.
“We’re definitely rebuilding because of COVID-19,” said Jones, who noted that the museum’s volunteer numbers dropped during the pandemic and still haven’t fully recovered.
The orientation process addresses safety measures, the history of the museum, as well as the vision and mandate of the organization.
“We have a safety program that we go through, (with a) safety orientation during our volunteer orientation,” explained Jones, noting that the two orientations are held in tandem.
The museum is seeking individuals qualified in a wide range of skills, but anyone interested in a specific area without an established skillset has the opportunity to learn on the job.
“We’re always looking for people with different skills to come and help,” said Jones. “We’re looking for all kinds of skillsets. We have people that run our steam engines, and in our shop do maintenance on our vehicles. We have education programs, public programs, so all kinds of skillsets are involved.”
“For specific jobs like steam volunteering you need your WHMIS (Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System) training, you would need TSASK (Technical Safety Authority of Saskatchewan) training, and you would need your Vulcan course and all that,” she said.
Some qualifications have to be earned separately, such as TSASK training which is offered independently. More information about TSASK can be found online at tsask.ca.
Most other training can be earned through the museum’s volunteer program. “But (for) the Vulcan course and the Steam Traction Engine Operation course, the WDM offers those courses,” Jones confirmed.
A few examples of the museum’s volunteer opportunities include Halloween events, A Christmas Long Ago, Heritage Day, model train shows, the BRICKSPO event, and more. The WDM also holds regular educational programs, special events, heritage demonstrations, and gallery ambassadors and interpreters are always in demand throughout the year.
Jones typically holds one volunteer intake each month. “It just depends on how many people we have. I try to do one (volunteer intake) a month, but it depends on how many people are interested in being volunteers,” she said.
“(The event today is) mostly to let people know that we’re always looking for volunteers,” Jones reiterated. “Anybody is welcome to volunteer.”
More information about the museum’s volunteer program is available on the museum’s website at wdm.ca, and the best way to volunteer is by contacting Alex Jones at 306-693-5989 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information specific to the volunteer blitz, visit wdm.ca/event_manager/volunteer-blitz.
The Moose Jaw branch of the Western Development Museum is located at 50 Diefenbaker Drive.
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