Greetings HBC employees! Joe Morse here at Fort Vancouver National Historic Site. This week I present to you my sixth Service Spotlight, where I interview a volunteer from one of our sites to get a better sense of what they bring to our volunteer program, and any other cool tidbits about them.
This November I had the opportunity to interview Joan Williams. Joan Williams is the gift shop manager at the Barclay House in Oregon City, Oregon. She is a long-time advocate for our McLoughlin House site, spending many years in various capacities supporting it. Joan is also well traveled, having cruised around the world, a feat many of us dream of.
Here’s the transcript of my interview with Joan:
How long have you been volunteering at Fort Vancouver?
I became a trustee of McLoughlin Memorial Association (MMA) in 2001…so in 2003. Thirteen years ago. I was named manager in Spring 2015.
What do you typically do in the Barclay house gift shop?
I order all the books, keep books and other items supplied, and I give the MMA coordinator all the sales information. And I also train the volunteers who work in the Gift Shop.
What do the other volunteers do at the gift shop?
Make sales, and when I’m not here, open and close the gift shop for me.
How did you come to be a volunteer at Fort Vancouver?
When John Salisbury became president of MMA, he asked me to be a trustee, and at the same meeting I was also elected treasurer. When I retired, I started volunteering in the gift shop.
What’s your favorite thing about volunteering here at Fort Vancouver?
Meeting people. Because we have people meeting from local places or other countries in the world. And I get to talk to them and get to know more about them.
What keeps you volunteering?
Well, I like to keep busy, I’m dedicated to the history of the McLoughlin House, and it’s nice to be involved. I’m still a trustee and it’s important to support the mission of the National Park Service and of MMA.
What the biggest challenge of being a volunteer and how do you overcome that?
One of our biggest challenges is that we don’t have enough volunteers. Volunteers are critical to our mission, and to this site.
What’s one thing you’d like to tell people who come to the fort?
Enjoy the experience, learn about the history, and be involved in it. We’re always looking for more people to be involved.
Any cool facts about yourself that people should know?
I had an interesting life. My husband and I sailed on our sailboat for four years that he built. We started in Portland and ended in Tel Aviv, where we sold our boat.
That’s a wrap! Come visit us at the McLoughlin House to learn about Dr. John McLoughlin, the Father of Oregon, and visit our gift shop to support our mission. And stay tuned for next month’s January Spotlight.