The heart of a museum

By Anna Powell Schaffer | Most in the community look to museums to serve as the protectors of history and culture. However, many in the community do not understand the large responsibility associated with achieving this goal. Most people can recognize the value of museums, but rarely put those feelings of necessity into practice.

Some would argue the heart of a museum is its collection. However, I would suggest that the true pulse of a museum lies in its volunteers.

Great time is dedicated to capital campaigns and short-term fundraising in the non profit sector, but a different skill set is necessary to capture a person’s time, especially in a world as busy as ours today. Competing with the other aspects of the human experience make dedicated and focused volunteers a true asset to any organization, even though their time and energy is often not represented on the annual budget or director’s report.

Nearly twenty docents are currently giving the ultimate gift of their time to the Beaufort History Museum. Beginning in early Sign posted inside the Beaufort History Museum  Photo ESPBSeptember of 2013, these volunteers committed to attending a weekly training session over the course of five weeks, and have allowed for the museum to extend its hours by donating their time on a weekly basis. These individuals range from retirees to full time employees and are a great example of the diverse group of people that call Beaufort, home.

As the Beaufort History Museum moves home to the Arsenal, plans to expand the docent program are in place and enrollment for its upcoming training sessions is currently open. A variety of times are available, and candidates for the docent program are invited to attend whichever session best fits their individual schedules.

The Beaufort History Museum is currently located at City Hall, 1911 Boundary Street and is open Monday-Friday 10am to 4pm.

For more information on tours or the docent program contact the museum or speak directly with Anna Schaffer, President of the Board of Directors for the museum at You can also find the museum on Facebook, here.

As the Beaufort History Museum moves home to the Arsenal, plans to expand the docent program are in place.  Photo courtesy Sean Carr