By: Pat Reeder | Category: In Our Communities | Issue: July 2012
Larry and Marion Leep from Baltic, Conn. talk with Will Rogers Ropers (docents) Tom Lingenfelter and Ken McSlarrow during their visit to Will Rogers Memorial Museum in Claremore.
Visitors come from all over the world to Will Rogers Memorial Museum. They come by the big yellow bus loaded with school kids, tour bus, car, motorcycle, and sometimes by foot to learn about Will Rogers.
Spend a few hours a month with an opportunity to meet these visitors and at the same time share the life, wisdom and humor of Will Rogers. A new class of Ropers (docent volunteers) will begin training Thursday, September 6. Classes will meet each Thursday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. through December 6 except for Will Rogers Days (November 1-4) and Thanksgiving (November 22) when sessions will be on Tuesday, October 30 and Tuesday, November 20.
Facilitating the classes will be Elmer Symsack, Sherry Whisler and Karen Tripp. Symsack and Whisler were in the first class of volunteers in 2008.
Ropers welcome visitors, introduce them to the Will Rogers Memorial Museum and Will Rogers Birthplace Ranch, answer questions about exhibits and Will Rogers, and point out other places of interest for touring and experiencing museums.
The training sessions provide volunteers with information and resources to be an informed Roper. Continued training and updates allow Ropers to remain current on new exhibits and events at the Museums.
There are opportunities to serve as a guide, greeter and interpreter, and work in areas of collections, horticulture and special events. Since the Roper program started, almost 12,000 hours have been donated, more than 4,000 in 2011.
Ropers come from all walks of life – truck driver, doctor, dentist, lawyer, judge, pilot, businessmen and women, homemakers, teachers, writers – all sharing a love of Will Rogers lore. While most are retired, some still work and schedule volunteer days with their employers or take weekend duty.
Many live in Claremore, but others come from Pryor, Tulsa, Sperry, Owasso, Oologah, Inola, Collinsville, Adair, Foyil, Haskell and Chelsea.
“Ropers have had an increasingly important role with the increase in attendance and special activities at both muesums and budget restrictions,” said Steve Gragert, Will Rogers Memorial Museums executive director.
Ropers are required to join Friends of Will Rogers support group at least at the minimum level, volunteer at least two five-hour shifts per month, read and research the life and legacy of Will Rogers and the museums’ collections, and undergo a background check.
If you are interested in volunteering at the Memorial Museum or Birthplace Ranch, an application is available on the Museum website, www.willrogers.com. Applications are also available in the office and at the admissions desk or by calling the office, (918) 341-0719.
For more information, contact
1720 W. Will Rogers Blvd. | Claremore, OK 74017