Living History Apprentice (LHA)
Stuhr Museum is fortunate to have a large variety of volunteers who assist with programs and activities in every department. One unique group of volunteers is known as Living History Apprentices or LHAs for short. The LHA program was started in 2004, growing out of the former Junior Interpreter class. Each year youth who have completed the 5th grade or above may apply to join this group and take training classes to prepare them for their experiences at the museum.
Beginning in 2004, we held a four day training class as a part of our Summer Adventures program. In 2017, the program was modified in order to allow more youth to participate in the program as well as introduce a leadership aspect to the program. Continually, LHAs have come from as close as the Tri-city area and as far away as Lincoln, Omaha, Missouri and Indiana. Parents are very supportive of the program, and often end up volunteering themselves. The efforts of both the LHAs and their parents provide the museum with a great deal of assistance over the course of the year. There are many programs here that are richer for their participation. We quite frankly can’t thank them enough – they are a very special part of the Railroad Town & Stuhr family.
What do Living History Apprentices do at Stuhr Museum?
Living History Apprentices, or LHAs assist in many events throughout each year. LHAs are an important asset to our Summer Adventures program in June and July each summer, as they are the instructor's helpers, assisting with everything from foodways to crafting and much more. LHAs may also volunteer as a Living Historian on a daily basis from May 1 through Labor day, where they will interpret life in the 1890's to visitors in Railroad Town, where they may work in one of the historic homes or trade sites. We also host many special events throughout the year, including the Independence Day celebration, Back to School, Harvest Fair, All Hallow's Eve and Christmas Past and Present, to name a few. LHAs will also have some behind-the-scenes opportunities, assisting with class preparations or some light office work.
How much time do LHAs have to volunteer?
While there is no minimum requirement of hours to be an LHA, those who complete 50 hours or more of volunteer service each year will be eligible for a special LHA event in the fall. Each LHA is responsible for recording their hours with us in order to be included in this event. LHAs are welcome to submit their hours for school volunteer requirements as well, and we refer to this record when signing paperwork.
How to get involved:
Firstly, fill out the application (a downloadable file is available below) and return it to Stuhr Museum. It may be mailed, e-mailed, or even dropped off. The deadline for applications for the current session will be March 13,2020. The next link will open up the reference form that you need to have two adults, not related to you, fill out and return. Teachers, coaches, 4-H leaders, scout leaders, etc. are all good choices for this part! Reference forms may be returned with the application or separately, however do need to be returned by the deadline of March 13th. A third document outlines volunteer opportunities for LHAs in 2020 and is not required to be returned at this time, but provides a glance at the opportunities that selected LHAs will be able to participate in.
At the end of the application period, we will contact each applicant to schedule an interview with a couple of our older LHAs. This interview process is not meant to be intimidating, just a way for us to get to know you, as well as allow an opportunity for the applicants to experience an interview situation and provide a leadership experience for our older LHAs who are conducting the interview.
After all interviews are completed, our older LHAs that conducted interviews will work with our team of adult LHA leaders to determine if each applicant is a good candidate for our Living History Apprentice program. Once the decision is made, each applicant will be notified of their acceptance status. Although we have increased the number of LHAs we can accept each year, we often have too many applicants and therefore cannot accept everyone. This process allows us to identify youth who are truly interested in this opportunity and will be best fit for our volunteer needs.
Accepted applicants must complete our training program, which is traditionally held on two Saturdays during April. (Please note, there is a $55 fee due before or on the first day of training to help cover the costs of materials and lunches.)
We encourage anyone who is not accepted to re-apply the following year, as sometimes it's just a matter of not enough spots for all the applicants or needing another year of maturity under their belt for the best experience. Our goal is to help our LHAs have a positive experience in our program, while helping them to develop into successful young adults. Many of our LHAs volunteer with us for a few years, and some even find their first job as a historical interpreter right here at Stuhr Museum.
For questions concerning the LHA program, please contact Karen at (308) 385-5316 ext. 204 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org