Ann Beyer and Ruth Sherman at their retirement party Wednesday shared stories about their time as volunteers for the Los Alamos Historical Museum. Courtesy/LAHS
With grateful yet sad hearts, the volunteers, staff and board members of the Los Alamos Historical Society bid farewell Wednesday to two of the Historical Museum’s longest serving volunteers, Ann Beyer and Ruth Sherman.
“Ann and Ruth have been true stalwarts,” said Kathy Ankeny, Museum Shop manager for the Historical Society. “We are going to miss them, and our visitors won’t have quite the same experiences without these two ladies sharing their vast knowledge and wonderful storytelling.”
Beyer has worked with the museum nearly 23 years, volunteering after her retirement from Los Alamos National Laboratory as a research librarian. “I have a closet history major, and my uncle was president of the Wisconsin Historical Society. With my experience as a librarian, I felt I could answer visitors’ questions,” she said.
Sherman, a retired chemist, began volunteering nearly 12 years, after she was turned down for the job of museum shop manager. “I didn’t get it, but I went ahead and volunteered. It turned out to be a good thing. I found I really enjoyed it,” she said.
Both Sherman and Beyer say their favorite part of the job was meeting the people coming into the museum. In the last year, more than 35,000 visitors from 41 countries and every state in the union visited the Historical Museum.
With these retirements and other volunteers moving and returning to school, the Historical Museum is in need of volunteers. Museum volunteers greet visitors, orient them to the museum, answer questions about the community and its history, and sell items in the Museum Shop. Shifts are available from one to four times a month (or more!). They last three hours (mid-October through March) or 3.5 hours (April through mid-October) and require some computer skills. Shifts also are flexible, so time off for travel, appointments or other needs can be accommodated.
Benefits of volunteering in the Museum include discounts in the Museum Shop, a free polo shirt with the Museum logo, advance notice of exhibits and special events, and volunteer appreciation activities throughout the year, including special volunteer-only trips to places like Puye Cliffs and the Valles Caldera. Additionally, training with local history experts is provided.
“Life is an input/output relationship,” Beyer said. “I’ve had lots of input and decided [to volunteer at the museum] to do some output.”
For more information or to volunteer, contact Museum Shop Manager Kathy Ankeny at 505.695.5250 or Executive Director Heather McClenahan at 505.662.6272.