, Derry, New Hampshire

July 11, 2013

Derry history museum seeks new volunteers

Volunteers needed to staff museum

By Julie Huss

---- — DERRY — This museum is history and needs a bit more help.

Derry’s history museum is seeking a new crop of volunteers to help staff the facility during its operational hours and help tell the rich stories that make up the town’s past.

The museum is located in the lower level of the Adams Memorial Building on West Broadway.

Derry Heritage Commission members want residents to learn more about the town’s history. That could mean getting involved as a volunteer at the museum.

Commission members are spearheading a volunteer effort, The History Guardians, in the hopes of lining up more people to help.

That could include town organizations, officials, clubs and school groups.

The intimate, lower-level museum is full of Derry’s heritage, from special exhibits on veterans, war heroes and the dairy industry, to shoe manufacturers, local businesses, poet and onetime Derry resident Robert Frost, and famed astronaut and Derry native Alan B. Shepard. The first American in space, in fact, has his own room at the museum.

From old printing presses of a local newspaper, right down to information about the first potato grown in the region, it’s a treasure trove of information and historical finds from one corner to the next.

The History Guardians would take over museum hours and be available for anyone stopping to look for information about the town’s past.

Commission member Janis Del Pozzo and Town Councilor Phyllis Katsakiores are leading the volunteer effort.

“I want to invite the town of Derry to get an idea of how they could help us staff that museum,” Del Pozzo said. “It’s a wonderful time to present this to the town and see what kind of feeling we get.”

Del Pozzo wants the downtown to succeed; that includes putting Derry’s history to work as a way to market the community.

“I think it would be helpful for everybody,” she said.

That also includes town departments like fire, police, and other officials to take on some volunteer duties and put a face on the historical aspect of what Derry is all about.

“It would be a great addition to rebuilding our town,” Del Pozzo said. “No one has the history that Derry has.”

She has a lot of ideas on ways to make the downtown work and plans to talk to town officials about the museum volunteer network soon.

More artifacts and exhibits are always in the works, Heritage Commission chairman and museum curator Karen Blandford-Anderson said.

“We have artifacts everywhere,” she said.

Many of the artifacts find their way into special exhibits at Derry Public Library and at the municipal center.

She said there are so many items that many remain in storage. She said the town generously offers the museum space at no cost to the Heritage group.

But more help is always needed.

Del Pozzo said getting more volunteers in place representing more groups will help Derry grow — with its strong history leading the way.

“It might help us realize just how valuable we are,” she said. “It’s time we lock into that.”

To learn more about the Derry History Museum and its hours of operation call 490-3054.

Derry's history museum at the Adams Memorial Building hopes to find new volunteers to help staff the museum during hours of operation.