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The Importance of Hill Aerospace Museum Volunteers

Apr
Museums, News April 16, 2023

Hill Aerospace Museum annually greets 250,000 visitors, relying on over 100 volunteers to educate and inspire each guest about the rich and storied history of Hill Air Force Base. These volunteers are essential to accomplishing the institutional goals of preserving the national collection and positively impacting all those who walk into the museum. There are many volunteer opportunities at Hill Aerospace Museum, from greeting visitors at the front desk to welding in the restoration shop, to developing online content for the global audience. The volunteers at the museum have collectively donated 300,000 hours of service to this institution and that number continues to grow.1

Why Volunteer?

There are several reasons why it is enticing to volunteer. To start, it provides individuals with a sense of purpose and community. Volunteering can facilitate community connections through visitor interactions and service to the organization. Supporting a principled cause can also help volunteers feel appreciated and are part of a greater purpose as they, and those around them, work towards a common goal. Many of the volunteers at the museum are retired and are former military service members who have a strong connection to the aircraft and exhibits. Serving at an institution that is home to over 70 aircraft and 2,000 Air Force-related artifacts, provides an opportunity for these volunteers to stay connected with a significant component of their lives. A few of our volunteers, when asked why they volunteer with us, commented that it is a chance to reminisce about their military service or a family member’s military service. Some volunteers have even worked with the aircraft we have on display. One of our volunteers, Tom, says that, “My dad served 31 years in the military; there are 16 of these aircraft in the museum that he flew; it’s a chance to reminisce.”

Another benefit to volunteering at Hill Aerospace Museum is the social interaction between the volunteers and guests. Volunteers who work in a public setting often interact with people they normally wouldn’t in everyday life. These human interactions can boost self-confidence as people learn how to improve communication skills, get to know others from around the world and share stories and life lessons. Furthermore, volunteers can create lasting friendships and relationships with fellow volunteers and those they serve.2  Two of our gallery volunteers, Roy and Gary, told us that their favorite part about volunteering is meeting new people and the comradery they share with the other volunteers.

What Do Hill Aerospace Museum Volunteers Do?

The Hill Aerospace Museum volunteer program actively searches for volunteer opportunities that best meet mission and volunteer goals. Volunteers have the opportunity to serve in our Education, Curation and Restoration departments; guide and educate guests in the lobby; or work in our Flight Line Gift Shop.

Volunteer opportunities vary in each department of the museum, but each provides value and experience to the respective program. In the Education department, volunteers have the opportunity to assist in teaching STEAM classes as well as interacting with guests inside the C-130 Hercules. In the Restoration and Curation departments, volunteers assist in the preservation and display of the museum’s aircraft and exhibits. From sheet metal work to interior aircraft restoration, the museum is constantly improving the collection. The most public-facing volunteer opportunities are greeting visitors and providing informational services to museum patrons in each gallery. Volunteers in these positions welcome guests to the museum, answer any questions, share history and stories and often give guided or impromptu tours. In 2022 alone, Hill Aerospace Museum volunteers guided 7,600+ visitors on tours and donated 16,592 hours of service. Regardless of where they serve, the time and efforts donated by our volunteers are what make the museum functional, welcoming and educational.

How To Get Involved

Without our volunteers, Hill Aerospace Museum, its collection and its displays would be somewhat lifeless. Museum volunteers bring these artifacts to life by sharing historical and personal stories with new audiences. Volunteers facilitate visitors’ understanding of the purpose, significance and legacy of the United States Air Force, its airmen and especially the local community here at Hill Air Force Base. Their talents and stories help to fulfill Hill Aerospace Museum’s mission “to educate and inspire all ages through history, with a focus on the United States Air Force, Hill Air Force Base, Utah Aviation and unique learning experiences.”

Hill Aerospace Museum is continually changing and growing. With a new, 81,000-square-foot gallery under construction, there will be even more opportunities for people to volunteer and a greater need for Hill Aerospace Museum to increase its volunteer team.

How can you get involved in museum volunteering? Fill out our volunteer application! You can pick up your application packet in person in our lobby or fill it out online at https://www.aerospaceutah.org/museum/volunteers/. Once you’ve filled out the packet, send it to our Volunteer Coordinator, Dennis Guse at dennis.guse@us.af.mil. You don’t have to be former military or even an aviation enthusiast—there are opportunities for everyone. Volunteering at a museum like Hill Aerospace Museum is a great way to give back to and engage with your community.

Bibliography

  1. Hill Aerospace Museum. “Volunteers.” Accessed January 18, 2023. https://www.aerospaceutah.org/museum/volunteers/.
  2. Mayo Clinic Health System. “Helping people, changing lives: 3 health benefits of volunteering.” Speaking of Health. September 16, 2021.  https://www.mayoclinichealthsystem.org/hometown-health/speaking-of-health/3-health-benefits-of-volunteering#:~:text=Volunteering%20reduces%20stress%20and%20increases,have%20a%20stress%2Dreducing%20effect.

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