Volunteer Experience in Roedde's House Museum

Volunteer Experience in Roedde's House Museum

By: Rui Wang
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Last week I volunteered as a tour guide in Roedde's house museum. Since that was my first time volunteering as a tour guide, I just shadowed the previous volunteer and listened to what they talked about and how they guided the tour group around the museum.

I found the volunteer position online, so I did not know what house museum was like before I got there. All the museums I had ever been to were huge. When I got to the Roedde museum, I was surprised that it is actually a nice house, which was designed by a famous architect called Francie M.Rattenbury in Canada. He also designed the legislative Building in Victoria. The Roedde's house was a mini design of that building.

I watched experienced volunteers give tours of the museum to visitors all day. From this I found that this small museum helps visitors learn more about the details of people's daily life in that era, compared to other larger museums. In larger museums visitors can mostly see antiques that are dug out of graves.  Those antiques are displayed in plastic, transparent boxes. They are totally separated from real scenario and thus people can only read the description beside the antiques to know about its historical context. But in this small house museum people can know what these antiques are used for in real life because they are displayed in the position where they would be found in a house. This makes the job more interesting for the tour guide.

A tour guide should also be familiar with the preference of the visitors. I found that visitors are very curious about the stories of Roedde's family, especially the stories about the death of two Roedde's daughters. There was a daughter called Anna and she died when she was five years old. Afterwards, the family had another daughter who they named Anna. She was killed when she was about 20 years old while she worked as a nurse in a hospital. That story is very scary and makes the museum house become a mystery.

In addition, I also found that being a tour guide requires one to be very patient. Because visitors are from different countries have different accents. Sometimes you cannot understand what they ask, so you have to ask them politely to repeat themselves. It can be embarrassing when visitors ask some questions that the tour guide cannot answer. In these circumstances, the tour guide can ask visitors to leave their contact information and try their best to find the answer afterwards.

In conclusion, being a tour guide in a museum can enrich our understanding of the history of Vancouver and improve your skills presentation as well. Also it will be a good chance to accumulate customer service experiences because we can know more about good manners and learn about how to behave when we talk to visitors.

Posted on December 06, 2012