Fifty Years of Volunteers

by Melanie Hasbrook

Daphne Mayer
Membership and Volunteer Coordinator, The Olana Partnership

Do you want to help Olana?  If you’re reading this, there’s a good chance you do.  We need caring and enthusiastic individuals like you to become Olana volunteers.  Fifty years ago, the fight to save Olana was led by volunteers both young and old.  Without their dedication and effort, Olana’s treasures might have been scattered across the globe and the house and estate parceled off for development.  Volunteers were the lifeblood of Olana back then and they still are today.  If you’ve ever taken a tour of the house or attended one of our events, you’ve probably met one of our wonderful volunteers.  We could not do what we do without their gifts of time and energy.

Autumn, with its brilliant colors, brings visitors in droves to Olana.  With the crowds descending from all over the world to soak in Olana’s beauty and history, this time of year is also the peak of our need for volunteers.  To ensure that we can accommodate as many visitors to the house as possible, we have introduced self-guided touring this year on weekend afternoons.  This has created a new volunteer opportunity – becoming a Room Guide!  It’s a wonderful way to be in the house, sharing your passion for Olana with others without the pressure of giving a full-fledged tour.  Another new volunteer role this year is Olana Ambassador.  Many of our visitors are here for the first time and are unfamiliar with all that Olana has to offer.  As an ambassador, you can help them find their way, let them know about upcoming programs and events, and maybe even suggest a good place for a picnic after their tour.  We have a variety of other ways you can lend a hand, depending on your interests and availability.

Volunteering is a great way to get behind-the-scenes at Olana – to see the hidden nooks and crannies that the average visitor never gets to.  You’ll also get to interact with our passionate and knowledgeable staff and meet other like-minded volunteers.  It’s certainly not all work either – we host a year-end holiday party to thank volunteers for their contributions and plan excursions to nearby museums and sites of interest.  If this sounds like a fun and rewarding experience to you, please contact me here or 518-828-1872 x102 to chat about ways you can get more involved with Olana.  I look forward to hearing from you!