Each year, approximately 40,000 recruits pass through Recruit Training Command (Boot Camp) at Naval Station Great Lakes. These young men and women volunteer to serve in the United States Navy.
But there is another group of dedicated individuals, albeit somewhat smaller, who also donate a portion of their time and energies to the U.S. Navy. They require no PFT, no uniform issue, and will not have to go through the rigors of Battle Stations 21. They are the volunteers at the Great Lakes Naval Museum. Their contributions to the preservation and interpretation of the history and heritage of the U.S. Navy can not be understated.
Who are they? They’re current and formers sailors, soldiers, airmen, and civilians. They bring their unique skill sets and experiences, each contributing to the professionalism and success of the museum. This is no small accomplishment considering the scope and speed of the museum’s growth.
If you’ve visited the museum, you were probably greeted by a volunteer when you walked in the door. They probably answered your questions. Maybe they guided you through the museum. They might have swapped sea-stories with you. Perhaps they talked with your family about what your sailor can expect over the course of the next few weeks and months.
They also do a lot of work that visitors don’t see. They research through stacks of publications, historical base newspapers, photographs, and various other media. Some work directly with our archive and collection departments, reducing the amount of backlogged information, categorizing and documenting our current holdings, or ensuring that our collection is in proper repair. They also assist with our educational programming, special tours and events, and community outreach.
This corps of dedicated volunteers is the life-blood of the museum and serves as its public face. So the next time you’re in the museum, be sure to stop one of these individuals, say hello, and thank them for their service.
If you’re interested in volunteering at the Great Lakes Naval Museum, simply fill out a volunteer application (found at: http://www.history.navy.mil/museums/greatlakes/volunteers.htm) and submit it either in person or via email. We are always seeking to grow and strengthen our volunteer corps and we look forward to hearing from individuals just like you…See you at the Museum!