“The whole Lighthouse crew are a great group of people!” says volunteer. Join the crew for Summer 2017!

April 14, 2017 1:38 pm Published by

Summer is nearly upon us in St. Joseph, and the Heritage Museum is preparing for our second season of tours at the newly restored North Pier Lighthouses! We are looking for enthusiastic and friendly volunteers who are interested in helping us welcome visitors to these unique historic structures.

Our Frederick S. Upton fellow Claire Herhold recently sat down with two of our veteran Lighthouse volunteers, Jim and Kate, to find out what they love about this unique summer experience.

Claire: Can you tell me a little bit about why you wanted to volunteer at the Lighthouse?

Jim: When the city announced that they would be acquiring the lighthouses, I was intrigued. I am a big fan of lighthouses and have visited many in the United States and some overseas.  I enjoy people and meeting new folks is always a pleasure for me. I like to talk them up whenever possible. I am interested in everyone’s “story.”

Kate: I originally worked with the Heritage Museum in Fall of 2015 when I helped out with the Haunted St. Joseph tours.  The museum staff asked if I would be interested in other volunteering opportunities and I was! I was excited to be asked to be a part of the Lighthouse guides. Having watched the money being raised and the restoration work down on the Lighthouse, it was fun to share that information.

Claire: What were your favorite parts of volunteering?

Kate: Crazy as it sounds, one of my favorite times in the Lighthouse was closing up by myself! It was a unique way in which to experience what the original Lighthouse Keepers must have felt. It was the same feeling I got when I opened the Lighthouse before anyone arrived for a tour.

Jim: I liked leading tours. After decades of sales management, I enjoy public speaking. I was surprised at the level of interest among attendees in the history of the lighthouse.  They were truly interested and delighted to be able to see inside the inner light and fog signal building, to say nothing of having the ability to climb to the top!


Volunteer Jim (center) guides a group of visitors around the lantern room and gallery at the Inner Light.

Claire: How did you prepare for your tasks as a volunteer?

Jim: I spent some time learning the information and practicing my tour on the pier when no one was around. This gave me the comfort level I needed.  It is especially helpful to walk the tour alone or with your friends and talk through the tour aloud. The more comfortable you are with the content the better you will be at communicating it and the better the whole experience will be for those attending.

Kate: As I prepared and learned the material, I chose things that stood out to me. Those are the things that will excite you the most and allow you to share your knowledge with confidence and ease.

Volunteer Ray is all smiles as he welcomes visitors to the second floor of the Inner Light.

Claire: Do you have any advice for people who are thinking about volunteering at the Lighthouse this summer?

Jim: Do it! It’s a great way to enjoy the beautiful summer weather along the lake. You can help visitors to our area appreciate the history of this lakefront community beyond our famous Silver Beach. There is so much to see and appreciate!

Kate: Yes! You gain so much by volunteering. You get to share all the wonderful details with people who are interested in what makes St. Joseph so special. The whole Lighthouse crew are a great group of people!

Are you interested in joining Kate and Jim on our fabulous Lighthouse volunteer crew? Do you know someone who is? We are looking for friendly and motivated people who are physically able to walk the length of the North Pier and climb tight spiral staircases and a ladder.

For more information about our programs and to apply for a position, contact Claire Herhold at (269) 983-1191, ext. 13 or at cherhold@theheritagemcc.org.