By: Pat Reeder | Category: Special Interest | Issue: July 2011
Ropers Hoytanna Benigar (left) and Carlene Webber greet pilots and spectators for the Will Rogers-Wiley Post Fly-In.
Spend a few hours a month with the opportunity to meet people from all over the world 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 1. Classes will meet from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. each Thursday through December 1 – except for the weeks of Will Rogers Days (November 3-5) and Thanksgiving (November 24) when they will meet on Tuesdays, November 1 and 22.
Ropers welcome visitors, introduce them to the Will Rogers Memorial Museum and Will Rogers Birthplace Ranch, point out places of interest, answer questions about exhibits and Will Rogers, and give directions for touring and experiencing the museums.
The 14 training sessions provide volunteers with information and resources to be a 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, or work in areas of collections, horticulture and special events.
Since the Roper program started in 2008, four classes have graduated and volunteered almost 5,000 hours, according to Steve Gragert, Will Rogers Memorial Museums executive director.
Ropers have had an increasingly important role with the record attendance at both museums. With still a month left on the fiscal year, attendance at the Claremore museum is at 136,527, a nine-year record. More than half the visitors are from outside Oklahoma.
While most of the Ropers are from Claremore, there are several from Pryor, Tulsa, Sperry, Owasso, Oologah, Collinsville, Adair, Pryor and Foyil.
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 form is available on at www.willrogers.com or in the Claremore Museum store. Store hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Interested persons can also email name, address, daytime phone, and fax if available to Gragert at eat0@eau0eav0eaw0, or call him at (918) 343-8118.