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We love- and need!- volunteers at OHS!

Originally published in the Cape Cod Chronicle

Here in Orleans, we are hoping winter is almost over. We’re looking forward to summer and reopening when this renovation project concludes at the end of the month. The summer event schedule was recently put up on our website (so go visit it!), although we’re still adding new events. We’re getting excited! But after several years of transitions and changes here, we also need new volunteers.

There are many studies which show the physical benefits of volunteering, including lower blood pressure and extended life expectancy. Psychology Today’s overview of research on the topic concludes that “older people who volunteer remain physically functional longer, have more robust psychological well-being, and live longer.” And like everything else, the sooner you start, the better the benefits!

There are also mental benefits to volunteering such as fostering relationships, a sense of purpose, and the one we like best here, creating a sense of community. It’s a great way to get to know new people or for long-time residents, to reconnect with old friends. And to learn about the history of Orleans and share what you like about this special town.

I would love to say this means you need us as much as we need you, but this is not true as without volunteers, it would be impossible to keep the Historical Society running. Donating your time, interest, and energy can help us advance understanding of the unique history of Orleans.

We are currently looking for all sorts of volunteers- year round or seasonal, on a project basis or open-ended, during the day, on weekends or during evening events. We are flexible and can tailor an assignment to your interests and desires. And we provide training.

We do have some specific needs. In April, we are going to start returning the museum collections to their regular homes from the centralized protected areas they were in during the construction and need lots of help. We need people who can inventory collections- this entails looking them up on the computer and updating records. We also need physical help to move things back to where they belong- this does entail walking up stairs and some heavy lifting. These projects should be completed by mid-May.

Come May, we need visitor services volunteers who can greet visitors at Meeting House and give them an overview of the museum, answer inquiries, and handle store sales. Some volunteers like just doing this and keeping themselves entertained in-between visitors while others like having small museum projects to work on while waiting. We allow you to choose what you want. We also need visitor services volunteers at the CG36500 berth at Rock Harbor to welcome people on the boat and tell them about its history.

We also need people who can help do office work on the computer managing members or collections. We also need people who can do research on the town's history- either in response to inquiries from the public or to help exhibits or other interpretative project.

And if you don’t have daytime availability, we also need special events volunteers. Either fun people who can help develop new programs and events- we need party planners! But also people who can help at events such as concerts and lectures, welcoming visitors and handling tickets.

If any of this peaks your interest or you would like to help but in a different way, please either send us an email at or call us at 508-240-1329. This is going to be a great summer and the more people who get involved, the better it will be!

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