The United Nations has declared 2001 as the Year of the Volunteer and many activities on Long Island have been geared to celebrate the fabulous contributions of the many people who volunteer their time to give to others. So this might be the perfect year to try some volunteer work at a local (or a favorite) museum or historic house. Volunteer efforts come in many flavors and are not limited to 'being a tour guide.' Museums and historic sites can use the talents of so many different types; can you hold a paint brush; are you good at bookkeeping or clerical work; enjoy gardening; have a special talent to share with others? Many of our institutions rely heavily on a volunteer core to be docents, to lead tours of houses or mansions, or to participate in living history by donning a period costume and becoming an historic figure. Lots of sites look for volunteers for a special event that takes place yearly, and hope to have the same volunteers return year after year to don a costume and sell peanuts or just greet visitors. What might be the rewards for these efforts? Some museums hold recognition dinners, offer volunteers discounted memberships and Gift Shop coupons. Some are recognized in local papers and some by private letters of sincere thanks. All volunteers are cherished and appreciated. Many sites could not function without them. (One site has several hundred volunteers on their roster!) The personal satisfaction of the volunteers is often reward enough. Most find it a good way to socialize and to meet new people - both their co-volunteers and the visitors to the site. Volunteering can broaden horizons and stimulate the mind. Becoming familiar with a historic site or a museum, spending time in those surroundings, often make it a comfortable and warm place to be. Once you get 'behind the scenes' of an institution, it becomes more familiar, more 'yours,' more comfortable!
So, take the time in 2001 and find a special place to donate your special talent. You'll probably get more out of it than you put in.
(For suggestions on sites near you, contact the museum expert at the URL at the bottom of the column)
Imagine a place where children and adults alike can experience the wonder of science and technology first hand in an interactive learning environment. A special place where there are few rules and touching, tapping, blowing, building and exploring with all the senses is encouraged. That is the vision of The Long Island Museum of Science and Technology (LIMSAT), an integral part of the Museums at Mitchel Center.
This hands-on museum will be designed to highlight the new and exciting technologies of the 21st century, with a special showcase of Long Island's outstanding contributions. Six engaging galleries, sponsored by distinguished corporations throughout the region, will inspire our youth to map their futures in technology -based careers. Flexible programs will support the regional school-based cirriculum, reinforcing and enhancing the student experience.
In addition to fostering learning among our youth, LIMSAT will be designed to encourage people of all ages to discover the magic behind science and technology. Though entering what could be unknown territory, all visitors will gain a better understanding of the exciting facets of science and technology and the impact it has on our present, and our future. The vision is clear. LIMSAT will present science and technology in a whole new light, through illustration, interaction and inspiration.