The Pennsylvania Lumber Museum relies strongly on volunteers to carry out its mission. Our volunteers are a diverse group of people who bring together a variety of skills and experiences to help the site. We are always looking for enthusiastic people interested in getting involved in the day-to-day activities at the museum. We are actively recruiting new volunteers to assist in the growing number of events, programs and partnerships we are administrating.
Here are a few of the ways you can help:
- Tour Guide–Volunteer guides are needed to give tours of the museum to bus groups, students, and scouts. Guides will learn by shadowing guided tours by other museum staff and volunteers; they may also help with admissions and information at the front desk while on duty.
- Historic Trades and Equipment Demonstrations–The museum has a variety of opportunities for interested volunteers to assist with historic trades and equipment demonstrations throughout the year like historic cooking, laundry, and shingle-making. Training is provided and we have apprentice programs for more involved trades like working in the sawmill, boiler room, blacksmithing, and running the birch still.
- Assisting with On-Site and Off-Site Programs–The museum holds a number of on-site events throughout the year. Extra hands are always needed to help collect admissions, direct visitors, and assist with crafts or hands-on activities. Volunteers are also needed to represent the museum at outreach activities during community events, meetings, shows, and festivals. Volunteers staff information tables to distribute flyers, brochures, membership info, and schedules of events; with the possibility of conducting demonstrations and hands-on activities.
- Caring for Collections–The site has a collection of thousands of historic photographs and documents, but only a small portion of them have been digitized. Volunteers with an affinity for photography and computer skills are needed to work on scanning images and entering info into a searchable database.
- Library Organization and Research–The museum’s research library was moved/reorganized in 2020 and now volunteers are needed to help update its database with correct shelf locations. Opportunities to do research on a variety of lumber history topics also exist for volunteers interested in digging into the past.
- Diesel Mechanic Skills–Volunteers with diesel mechanic skills are needed to work on repairing the museum’s Brookville Engine. It was in operable condition from the time of its restoration until around 2010.
- Model Train Operation–The museum recently installed on exhibit an HO scale model train layout and are looking for volunteers interested in learning the ropes to operate and talk about the layout with visitors.
- Grounds Keeping–Love to work outdoors? Volunteers interested in doing general landscape maintenance and grass cutting are always welcomed.
In addition, we can accommodate school and scouting community service projects of all types and size. In short, if you have a talent and a desire to help, please let us know. We can definitely find something rewarding for you to do here at the site. Volunteering at the Lumber Museum can help you build your resume, fulfill your school or organization’s service requirement or simply provide a place to meet new friends and make lasting memories.
If you would like to join us, please complete and return a volunteer application or call (814-435-2652) for more information.
PHMC Volunteers of the Year
The Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission was formed to play a key role in stewardship of the commonwealth’s historical resources. Since its beginning a century ago, the commission has depended on citizen volunteers to work in partnership with our dedicated paid staff to carry out preservation and interpretation programs of the agency. Every year the commission takes time to recognize the honorees selected as “Volunteer of the Year” by the various sites they serve in order to thank them for their efforts in service to history and to the state. Thanks to their work and dedication, we have been able to preserve the historical resources of these special places that tell Pennsylvania’s story for the citizens of and visitors to our commonwealth.
Pennsylvania Lumber Museum Associates
Volunteer of the Year for 2020/21: Mike Callahan
Dr. Michael “Mike” Callahan is a retired physician who joined the Board of Directors at the PA Lumber Museum in 2018. Over the last three years, Mike has become an invaluable asset to the museum team by lending a helping hand and providing historic expertise on a variety of projects. Mike had previously researched and written an article on the lumbering ghost town of Corbett for the Potter County Historical Society, and the museum was able to tap his knowledge and his collection of historic photographs to create an interpretive panel about this former community. As an avid hiker and cross-country skier, Mike helped museum staff develop “Hiking to History”- an off-site educational and recreational program. He also provides cross-country ski instruction to novice museum visitors during the annual “Winter in the Lumber Camp” event. Dr. Callahan’s most substantial contribution to the museum is his multi-year effort at scanning images from the museum’s historic photograph archive. To date he has scanned over 1,500 images and completed an attribute database entry for each photo. His concern for the health of the children in our community prompted him to purchase and donate a variety of wooden toys to be given out at the museum’s Halloween event instead of candy. Mike is also an active member of the Galeton Rotary and serves as a liaison between the Rotary and the museum, facilitating collaboration and cross-promotion of the annual Cherry Springs Woodsman Show event.
Pennsylvania Lumber Museum Associates
Volunteer of the Year for 2019: Dan Davis
Dan Davis has actively volunteered at the Pennsylvania Lumber Museum for over 25 years. He serves as the lead sawyer for the museum’s steam-powered circular sawmill. He was recruited into volunteer service by another long-serving volunteer (now deceased), Lester Jordan. His first volunteer duty was to assist other volunteers (namely Tony Mingo and Jean Supplee) with running the mill’s steam boiler and monitoring the drive belts. Dan was soon “promoted” to head sawyer, controlling the head saw blade and saw carriage for the mill. Dan decides how to best saw each log to derive maximum lumber yield. He also sharpens the teeth of the various saws in the mill, and those on the blade used for the museum’s shingle mill. The sawmill is run for demonstration purposes three times a year (April, July and October) during museum special events. Dan brings a tremendous amount of knowledge and skill to his volunteer position, having worked at McDowell Lumber Company for 29 years. He started there in 1987 at the age of 15. Dan served as the mill supervisor but was also a log truck mechanic and welder. Following the closure of the sawmill, Dan now works for BBU Bakery in Olean, NY, as a plant mechanic.
Dan really enjoys running the mill, and he does a great job at explaining the operation to visitors. He also enjoys teaching other volunteers the safe and proper way to run a mill; these volunteers include a cut-off sawyer, pond man, edger man and lumber stackers. The museum is truly grateful to Dan Davis for his continuing service and support; many thanks for all that you do to help bring our history to life!
Jack Deurer poses with the reconstructed Bob & Dotty Webber cabin at the museum, which he helped to rebuild.
Pennsylvania Lumber Museum Associates
Volunteer of the Year for 2018: Jack Deurer
Jack Deurer was selected as the Pennsylvania Lumber Museum Volunteer of the Year for his vital role in completing the Bob Webber cabin relocation project in 2018. This project would not have been possible without the many hours of volunteer time that Jack gave freely and diligently. Jack Deurer has been a professional log home builder for over 30 years. He was a life-long friend of Bob and Dotty Webber (from the age of 10) and helped the Webbers to build an 11 by 13-foot addition to their cabin in the 1980s to accommodate a piano that Dotty wanted in the house. After Bob Webber’s death in 2015, Jack was eager to see the cabin and Bob and Dotty’s legacy of service to Pennsylvania’s forests preserved. Jack was an early advocate for getting the Pennsylvania Lumber Museum involved in the project and joined a large group of supporters and volunteers who felt moving the Webber cabin to the museum would be a “good fit.” When it was decided that the cabin would be saved, dismantled and relocated to the museum, Jack supplied the know-how and determination to make the logistics of that move a reality. He numbered every piece of the cabin before dismantling it where it stood near Slate Run, PA. After the individual pieces were transported to the site, Jack made sure that everything was put back together properly. Some pieces of the cabin were too deteriorated to re-use, so Jack made replacement parts that stayed as true as possible to the original design and feel of the cabin. With his careful and focused supervision, the reconstruction was completed over the course of two months; from May through July 2018. In many ways, the cabin is now stronger than it was when the Webbers occupied it; a conscious decision that Jack made (one he calls a “labor of love”) to ensure the longevity of this new historic building exhibit at the Lumber Museum. Jack continues to be involved with the project, helping with information about the Webbers to be used on interpretive panels and loaning some objects they owned to be used in exhibits in the cabin.
PHMC Outstanding Service Award
The Outstanding Service Award is meant to recognize and honor exceptional, long-term contributions by an individual who has given unselfishly of his or her time and talents for the advancement of a PHMC site or museum. Emphasis should be placed on providing special recognition to individuals who, over a number of years, exemplified best practices in the field of museums and public history, supported the mission and goals of a PHMC site or museum and/or provided a long-term benefit to the institution or organization.
Pennsylvania Lumber Museum is pleased
to recognize Bob Greenman as one of the
PHMC Outstanding Service Award Winners for 2017!
Bob Greenman (center-left) with PHMC Executive Director, Andrea Lowery, and Commission Members Fred Powell and William Lewis.
Robert “Bob” Greenman has been volunteering at the Pennsylvania Lumber Museum since 1986; running and maintaining their steam-powered sawmill. Bob’s first visit to the museum was during a trip with his father to a plot of forest land owned by the family located near Hebron, just outside of Coudersport, PA. After that initial visit Bob would often return and find himself watching the sawmill in action, particularly the steam engines that power it. As a mechanical engineer, this was a natural fascination for him. At some point, the “engine guy” at the time, Lester Jordan, invited him in to take a closer look. The rest is history. Soon Bob was assisting Lester on a regular basis and then encouraged his son Nathaniel to join him, followed by his other son, Kent, in 1996. Bob & his sons learned how to run & maintain the steam engines and associated sawmill equipment, which allowed Lester to focus on other restoration projects. Over the years, Bob has also been involved in other projects at the museum, including the procurement of a Model T, restoration of the band saw log carriage, and a long-term closed circuit video project designed to enhance the visitor experience at the sawmill. A strong supporter of the museum, he always shares his enthusiasm with people he meets and lets them know that they really must visit the museum themselves and experience the history on display there.
Bob lives near Albany, NY, and has volunteered for countless organizations over the years. A driving force of Bob’s volunteerism is a passion to promote organizations that focus on education. When Bob picks a group to be involved with, it usually becomes a long-term commitment.
That educational focus drives Bob to teach a course called “55 Alive;” a New York State driver’s education program helping people age 55 and older refresh their driving skills through classroom training. Previously, he served as statewide coordinator for the program. He has volunteered in the public school system for 25 years as a Junior Achievement Mentor. Bob enjoys taking school groups through the nature area of the Five Rivers Education Center, teaching them about everything from trees to pond scum. He is a Cornell University-certified Master Forest Owner, and enjoys “Woods Walks” with landowners to discuss options for sustainable forestry and the legacy of family land plots. The lumber museum’s mission regarding lumber history and forest management has certainly complimented Bob’s efforts to preserve and maintain his own family forest land on Greenman Hill in Potter County.
Since the mid 1950’s Bob has been a supporter & volunteer within the Boy Scouts of America. He has volunteered at the troop level, teaching merit badges up through council positions, and currently serves on the Eagle Scout board of review. He also works to ensure Boy Scout camp facilities meet safety & program requirements. Bob has earned scouting’s highest honor, the Baden Powell award.
Bob puts his financial expertise to use by serving as treasurer for a local nursing home, an engineering society, a state environmental education support organization called “Friends of Five Rivers,” and The Veterans Scout Association. He previously served as his church’s financial secretary and is currently their treasurer.
The New York State Museum in Albany also benefits from Bob’s service. On Saturday, two times a month you’ll find Bob’s friendly presence at the front desk helping museum patrons find their way to interesting exhibits. His strong desire to help others succeed led him to Albany’s chapter of SCORE (Service Corps of Retired Executives). This federal organization supports new business owners, helping them to formulate and execute their business plans to ensure success.
Perhaps the volunteer activity that his son’s most enjoying teasing him about is his weekly town Senior Van driving job. He frequently jokes that he has to drive the old geezer mobile, to which we reply, “so at 87 what does that make you!!” Ha!!