Volunteer Opportunities at Walker Tavern Historic Site

Located at the intersection of the Detroit-Chicago Road (today's U.S. 12) and the Monroe Pike, Sylvester Walker's farmhouse tavern was a favorite stopping place for 19th-century travelers to change horses, relax, enjoy a meal, or spend the night. Today, Walker Tavern Historic Site's exhibits and special events interpret Michigan's frontier settlement and stagecoach eras.

Volunteers are a key element in Walker Tavern's continued expansion as a cultural resource for the local community and our state. If you are looking for a volunteer opportunity, please read the following list to find which of our needs matches your skills and interests.

Special Events Volunteer
Special events volunteers sell tickets at the front gate, distribute programs and assist visitors with information about where to park and what to see and do at the event. Special events volunteers may sign up for shifts for one or more events. Tasks will be explained to special events assistants when they arrive for their shifts. Special events volunteers should have good people skills and enjoy working with the public. No special training is required. Volunteers may dress in period clothing, but it is not required.

Historic Gardener Volunteer
Historic gardeners assist Walker Tavern staff with the development, maintenance and interpretation of the kitchen garden, container gardens around Hewitt House and landscaping for the rock and at the entryway. Development may include planning, researching and planting. Maintenance may include watering, weeding and pruning. Interpretation may include signage, handouts and using gardens for historical interpreting during special events and programs. Historic gardener volunteers should have a love of gardening , either knowledge of historic plants and gardens or a willingness to research the topic, and time to spend working on gardens at Walker Tavern Historic Site. Historic gardeners may adopt a garden to care for during the season. They would be responsible for the welfare of that garden and let staff know if the garden needs more care than the volunteer gardener can give.

Historical Interpreter Docent
Historical interpreter docents help Walker Tavern staff in providing visitors with accurate historical information about Walker Tavern, the Irish Hills area and travel in Michigan. They may lead tours of the entire site, work with small groups during programs, or they may be stationed in a particular location. If assigned to the barn, Hewitt House or Walker Tavern, docents would become especially familiar with the artifacts and displays in their assigned building and know how to interpret them. They may dress in period costumes for special events and programs and may share a particular pioneer skill or "lost art" with visitors. Historic interpreter docents should have good people skills and a love of history, as well as a willingness to study both Michigan history and good interpretive techniques. Attending a training course in historic interpretation is a prerequisite for becoming a historic interpreter docent.

Walker Mercantile Volunteer
Walker Mercantile volunteers help to decide what to sell in the museum store. They may produce some of the merchandise and staff the museum store during regularly established shifts from Memorial Day to Labor Day and during special events. They may also meet periodically throughout the off-season to plan for the next season. When working at the museum store, Walker Mercantile volunteers greet customers, answer questions about merchandise, transact sales, restock shelves, keep accurate records of sales and reconcile the cash drawer after each shift. If a volunteer cannot fulfill a scheduled shift, he or she is responsible for letting the volunteer coordinator know at least 24 hours in advance, so that a replacement can be found.

Site Improvement Volunteer
Site improvement volunteers may help get the site ready for the season by picking up trash and tree branches, raking dead leaves and clearing access roads. In the past, our site improvement volunteers have controlled invasive species, installed bird and bat houses, painted buildings and fences, pruned and planted trees, made a fire pit, installed a new barn roof and graded the parking lot. Site improvement volunteers should like working with their hands and have skills in using hand tools and equipment needed for the assigned tasks.

Other Ways to Help

Updated 10/09/2014