Volunteering at the Museum

Mrs. Corola Glennon (holding certificate)- the Pennsylvania Lumber Museum Volunteer of the Year for 2016- standing with members of the Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission. Volunteerism is recognized by the museum and PHMC at an annual awards luncheon hosted at the State Museum in Harrisburg.


The Pennsylvania Lumber Museum relies strongly on volunteers to carry out its mission. We are always looking for enthusiastic people to join us. Here are a few of the ways you can help.

  • Tour Guide
  • Gift Shop Attendant
  • Maintenance
  • Collections Cataloging and Preservation
  • Educational Programming
  • Logistics for Special Events such as the Bark Peeler’s Convention

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 probably 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 call for more information.


This is an exciting time at the PA Lumber Museum. Our visitor center renovation and expansion project, completed in 2015, greatly increased public awareness, interest and attendance at the museum. In turn, the museum and PALMA have done a great deal to capitalize on this increased attention, offering new programming, events and activities to keep the public engaged with the site. While this growth is wonderful, museum activities are rapidly outpacing the ability of staff and volunteers to administer them. That is why we are encouraging all current PALMA board members and volunteers to begin actively recruiting new volunteers to help with the growing suite of museum endeavors. The list below presents specific needs and activities with which specialized volunteers could be involved:

  1. Docents to give guided tours of the museum to groups and students. Interested volunteers would shadow the Site Administrator during group tours and learn the procedure for the site. During group tours, the museum often partners with Susquehannock State Forest whose foresters give guided trail walks along the Sustainable Forestry Trail, so our guides don’t have to do it all alone. Interested volunteers should like talking and interacting with the public. Eventually as folks become comfortable with the site, these docents might become costumed interpreters portraying trades and skills in the logging camp. It would also be nice to have the woodshop in the bottom floor of the sawmill staffed and turning-out wood furniture and other products. This type of volunteer could also be tapped for apprentice programs with the folks that work our sawmill, boiler and mill equipment, birch still, and other site equipment.
  2. Out-going individuals to represent the museum at outreach activities. When local municipalities or organizations put on community events, these volunteers would staff an information table about the museum to distribute flyers, brochures, membership info, schedule of events, etc. Educational outreach events might also include a presentation of historic logging tools, stand-ups or posters featuring historic imagery and information, and interactive activities. Current interactive includes setting-up a saw buck and conducting 2-man cross cut sawing of a log that has been end-stamped with our PLM log stamp. During this, volunteers would talk about the life of woodhicks- how much they were paid, how long they worked, living conditions, etc. to get folks to relate to their current lifestyle.
  3. Developing STEAM curriculum activities that highlight aspects of the museum– i.e. geometry and architecture in the logging camp, timber scaling, the chemistry of paper making/ charcoal/ birch still/ tanning leather, carbon capture through forestry, etc. Potter County Education Council would like the museum to do a presentation on how teachers can use our site as a resource in teaching “STEAM” subjects to their students in creative ways. Environmental science activities are an obvious addition; geometry lessons in measuring and drawing the buildings in the logging camp, and perhaps engineering a new “more efficient” camp and building a model of it (think Lincoln logs). Exercises of calculating board feet in timber would also fit well. Chemistry classes could work on making paper, tanning leather, using the birch still, extracting chemicals from wood while making charcoal, etc. Technology and engineering classes could focus on the design of the Shay locomotive and having a competition to design small engines that could pull the most weight on a G-scale train track. This type of activity will require pulling in current and former educators at the high school and college level.
  4. Developing a scavenger hunt and other educational activities to do with school tour groups. A scavenger hunt could incorporate close-up photographs, written clues, finding a specific mark/object/ design throughout the campus, identifying tree species, educational aspects of the exhibits, etc. Other educational activities might include using “play-money” to teach company store economics lessons, planting seeds in small pots so students can plant a tree- talking about the practices and benefits of sustainable forestry, using play dough to make logs that can then be scaled and valued using timber rules, building model log rafts and floating them in Commissioner Run, etc.
  5. Help to plan and implement a new Halloween-themed program. A Halloween program will involve lantern tours through the exterior exhibits with stops at different locations to listen to a spooky story. A trick-or treat trail for youngsters, games and activities. Costume/ dress-up photo stops. We need story tellers/ local theatrical companies to help out, and writers to craft the stories and scripts that visitors will be listening to.
  6. Recycling portions of the old exhibit (prior to the renovation of the visitor center) for use in the existing outdoor exhibits.  Dioramas and models from the old exhibit need to be cleaned and refurbished and put into working order before they can be displayed in the rear portion of the Brookville building. The Barnhart loader model in the main exhibit needs a rail car, tracks, logs and other details to make it a “proper” diorama.
  7. Repair of the Brookville locomotive; learning to operate the Model T cut-off saw & portable band saw, etc. It would be nice to get the Brookville running again, but we would need someone with diesel mechanic skills. The Model T saw is operational, but will require volunteers to demonstrate it to the public during museum events. The band saw needs to be cleaned and checked before we can attempt to run it. Someone with experience in operating this type of equipment would be preferred.
  8. Transport, inventory and digitization of archival materials. The new space is ready, but items need to be cleaned and verified against the master inventory before being re-shelved. Persons involved with this would be a natural to transition into a PALMA-run research program. Assisting folks in using the research library, making copies of historic photos, etc.
  9. Transport, inventory and curation of collections to the new building. Again, collections storage in the visitor center is ready to receive the objects, but things have to be cleaned and inventoried before coming into the new building. Volunteers could help with physically moving objects from one building to the other, tagging and photography, etc.
  10. Finding grant funding and developing scripts and material for an app-based digital augmented reality avatar project the museum would like to implement. The idea for a digital woodhick tour guide is a cool one, but at around $55,000 it will definitely require more funds that PALMA currently has to spend. Someone with experience in researching and writing technology grants would be very helpful.
  11. New committees and active committee chairs for the PALMA BOD. Volunteers who are interested in fundraising and marketing for the site could serve as a fundraising, corporate sponsorship, and development coordinator, working to bring in more donations to the museum. A marketing and outreach coordinator would work to promote the museum to the fullest extent possible. A PALMA volunteer coordinator– someone who is interested in recruiting, training and overseeing all museum volunteers is also needed; they would match volunteer skill sets with the site activities where they could be put to the most use. Finally, as much as we love and appreciate all of our board members and hope that they will continue to serve for many years to come, board members should take it upon themselves to help to try and plan for their succession. Recruiting and training new board members is essential to the long-term health and prosperity of the organization. Another committee and chair position that could be added would entail board development and diversification coordinator.