The Secret Life of a Docent

Just walking up to the old house begins the visitors’step back in time. People who visit the Transylvania Heritage Museum are often interested in the age of the house, and then they begin sharing stories of their childhood memories. Once inside, the exhibits bring more memories.  It may be an arrowhead found while gardening or plowing.  Wow, evidence of people who lived here so long ago! Museum docents have heart-warming experiences every week.

Docent Wendy Hawkins tells of a young couple from Knoxville, TN, who visited last spring and learned of relatives in the area while looking at exhibits. They were excited to start their genealogy search. Docent Nora Lynn Holmes relates a story of a neighborhood woman who came into the Museum just because she was out for her morning walk and noticed that we were open. "She immediately lit up when she saw pictures of family members and family friends long passed, pictures she thought were gone and forgotten. Then she spotted a picture of herself as a child singing in the choir. It was like she went back to that moment, as she stared at the picture and daydreamed. She continued around the exhibit, finding more family members, lingering to savor memory after memory. It was then that I realized how important it is to pass these stories and local history down to the younger generations. A few days later a young man came in that was part of her family. He came to see the pictures that she had spent time looking at. I was able to guide him through and point out events his family was involved in. Even though I'm not an expert and didn’t know everything about the exhibit, I felt like I helped touch somebody's heart."

Docent Sandy Watson says that working for the Heritage Museum is “my way of giving back to this community to which I moved 5 years ago. It’s also a great way to learn its history and to share that knowledge with visitors to the Museum. Meeting those visitors is my personal reward. This is my fourth year as a docent, and I can’t imagine giving up that privilege.”

If you would like to become a docent at Transylvania Heritage Museum, call Pat at 884-7330. Training is provided at your convenience. The Museum, located on the left just past the Brevard Post Office, is open Wednesday – Saturday, from 10:00 to 5:00. Find more information at www.transylvaniaheritage.org.

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