Hello everybody!  This is Joe Morse at Fort Vancouver National Historic Site.  This week I bring you my third Service Spotlight, where I interview a volunteer from one of our sites to get to know them better.  In these interviews, you will also be able to get a better sense of what they bring to our volunteer program, and their uniqueness.

This August I had the pleasure of interviewing Matt Dalimata. Matt is one of our newest and most dedicated volunteers. He works in the blacksmith shop inspiring youth and elders alike with his skilled  metallurgy craftsmanship. Matt specializes in making all sorts of historic metal items of the Hudson Bay Company from the 1840s. He makes blacksmithing look easy!

Here’s what Matt had to say:

How long have you been volunteering at Fort Vancouver?

August made it two years. I usually come in 2-4 times per week. Mostly on Tuesdays and Saturdays and on some special events.

What do you typically do in the blacksmith shop?

Historical recreation. The principle point of a blacksmith is to recreate objects at Fort Vancouver. There are at least 200,000 identified metal objects currently in the archaeological vault.  Only 7% of the reserve has been dug on.

How did you come to be a volunteer at Fort Vancouver?

I actually got into this because my doctors told me I needed a hobby. My father and my doctor encouraged me.  My father is a blade-smith in Montana.  I chose blacksmithing because of the history of it.

What’s your favorite thing about volunteering here at Fort Vancouver?

Making memories with families.  I cant tell you about how many people who have brought their kids here, who have experienced this place when they were kids, and wanted their kids to experience the same thing.  Watching whole families make new memories.

What keeps you volunteering?

Honestly? The quest for knowledge.  I’m a firm believer that children know the best questions on earth, and from 13,000 school kids, I’ve learned a great deal from their questions.

What the biggest challenge of being a volunteer and how do you overcome that?

The history of Fort Vancouver is vast, and there are so many firsts that happened here, that it’s near impossible to accurately capture every detail.  Study is the best thing I’ve found to deal with it.  Because the more I know, the better interpretive volunteer I can be.

What’s one thing you’d like to tell people who come to the fort?

It’s importance in 1845 and it’s importance today.  Also what it means to volunteer.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

I would encourage anybody to attend the lantern tour.  Of all the events we have, it’s the most delightful and it’s a great way to meet new people and make friends.

Any cool facts about yourself that people should know?

I really enjoy classical music.

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That’s all for this month.  To keep learning about our wonderful volunteers, stay tuned for next month’s October Spotlight!