By: Pat Reeder | Category: In Our Communities | Issue: September 2012
Martin Howard (right), one of several men graduates of Will Rogers Memorial Museum Roper (docent) training, welcomes Elsie and Al Smith of Martin, Tenn., to the Claremore museum. The Smiths, enroute to Lawton for their grandson’s military graduation, spent the night in Claremore especially to visit the Memorial Museum. They also made a stop at the Will Rogers Birthplace Ranch. Docents welcome visitors and are available to answer questions about exhibits and Will Rogers.
A new class of Ropers (docent volunteers) at the Will Rogers Memorial Museum in Claremore 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.
Docents spend a few hours a month meeting visitors, young and old, who come from all over the world. They share the life, wisdom and humor of Will Rogers and point out other places of interest for touring and experiencing museums and businesses in this area.
Training sessions provide volunteers with information and resources to be an informed Roper. Continued training and updates allow volunteers to remain current on new exhibits and events at the museum.
There are opportunities to serve as a guide, greeter and interpreter or work in areas of collections, horticulture and special events. Ropers come from all walks of life and all share a love of Will Rogers lore. About a third of the graduates are men. Most Ropers are retired, but some still work and schedule volunteer hours with their employers or take weekend duty.
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.
Many of the volunteers live in Claremore, but they are spread out across the county in Oologah, Inola and Foyil and in Pryor, Collinsville and Owasso, Tulsa and Sperry, and as far away as Haskell.
If you are interested in volunteering at the Memorial Museum or Birthplace Ranch in Oologah, an application is available on the Museum website at www.willrogers.com (right hand side of page under “Ways to Support”). Applications are also available in the Museum business office and at the admissions desk or by calling the office, (918) 341-0719.