Effingham Daily News, Effingham, IL

March 3, 2013

Museum board encourages volunteer participation

Bill Grimes
Effingham Daily News

EFFINGHAM — Now that the Effingham County Cultural Center and Museum Association has reached its membership goal, the trick is to get those members as active as possible in renovation and programming efforts at the museum.

"I think we need more volunteers to work during our opening hours," said board member Matt Stead at Thursday's ECCCMA membership meeting in the old first-floor courtroom at the museum.

The museum opened last fall on the first floor of the old Effingham County Courthouse. It's been open this winter from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday and Saturdays.

Association member Jim Lange said he'd like to see ECCCMA board members set a good example for the membership.

"I'd like to see our board members work one day a month at the museum," Lange said. "I think the leadership should share in the responsibilities."

Board member Dave Ring noted that a low percentage of the group's 252 members were participating.

"We're only catching 15 to 20 percent of our members," Ring said.

Volunteer opportunities are available during museum hours, as well as within the ongoing renovation of the second floor and basement.

Those interested in volunteering with the association are encouraged to call Lo Ella Baker at 217-342-6458.

Also Thursday, the board discussed guidelines for securing museum exhibits, including items that people might want to loan to the museum for a fixed period of time.

Association member Jane Ries said many families don't want to permanently give up historical items, many of which have intangible value within a family.

"People aren't willing to give up their family heritage, but they are willing to share it," Ries said.

Several association members said the museum shouldn't take items without a connection to local history.

"We can't take every antique in the county," Lange said. "We have to select items that go along with our displays."

"If it doesn't relate to a story we're trying to tell, we shouldn't take it," added Dan Wormhoudt.

Bill Grimes can be reached at 217-347-7151, ext. 132, or at bill.grimes@effinghamdailynews.com