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Volunteers Needed at Columbus Chapel and Boal Mansion Museum

by and on January 15, 2020 5:00 AM

With the holidays behind us and winter stretching out ahead, some people may find some extra time on their hands. If that sounds like you, consider volunteering to pass some of those long cold days.

One of the historic sites needing some help is the Boal Mansion Museum and Columbus Chapel in Boalsburg. The director, Dr. Robert Cameron, said the museum could not exist without the dedicated team of volunteers who contribute time and energy to the many exciting initiatives of the museum.

Cameron recently talked about several areas of need and each require people with different skill and interest sets. Do you like to delve into history? Do you have special knowledge or training in a certain field, such as French or Spanish history or language, Civil War history, Renaissance art history or World War I weaponry?

That would be very valuable, but not necessary.

“People are needed to show visitors through the mansion, chapel and special exhibits as tour guides or docents,” said Cameron. “To be a docent, you must be over 21 and able to walk considerable distances. Training begins with a full tour of the property and you will learn about the eight generations of the Boal family and their friends and relatives. You will learn about the Renaissance European art and artifacts from Egyptian tombs that are in the museum, and much more.”

Cameron also said that volunteers can curate 19th Century Parisian fashions, catalogue historic books from the 16th century or research artifacts dating thousands of years in age.

Other needs are for gardeners. There are specialty flower, vegetable and herb gardens on the 48-acre property which need care all year. There are also walking trails that require tending. Volunteers can spend as much time as they like with others who come to garden.

The old buildings on the property need continuous upkeep and maintenance. People with carpentry skills are needed to prepare new exhibits and maintain them. Those with knowledge of electrical work and general repair are always needed.

Perhaps your skills lie in fundraising, communications, marketing, finance or in curation, preservation and interpretation. There are needs for ongoing committee work in all those areas.

“Some of those areas would need experience or special training,” said Cameron. “Finally, the fine and performing arts component is an integral part of the mission’s program with the historic Boal Barn Playhouse, the outdoor stage, the Boal Mansion’s ballroom and the extensive collection of original art dating from the Renaissance,” explained Cameron.

For more information on how to become a member of the volunteer team, visit the museum’s website at or contact Cameron at (814) 876-0129.

This story was produced by the staff at the Centre County Gazette. It was re-published with permission. The Centre County Gazette is a weekly publication, available at many locations around Centre County every Thursday morning.

Connie Cousins covers Centre County for the Gazette.
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