Scope and Content Note


The Museum has come to rely on the professionalism and dedication put forth by the individuals who volunteer their time to enrich each visitor's experience. These records document the activities and procedures initiated over the last 40 years by the Volunteer Services office to develop and guide their interactions with the public.

The "Museum guides" series pertains to the weekend, weekday and graduate guides. Documentation includes extensive runs, from the mid-1960s to 2005, of the newsletters published for two of the guide groups; namely, "Guidelines" written for the weekday guides, and "Guideposts" for those who work the weekends. Both are monthly publications. Issues of the "Graduate Guidelines," published approximately six times a year, are also included for the years 1991 to 2003. The series also includes meeting minutes, correspondence, handbooks and training materials. The "Park House guides" series documents in varying degrees each of the seven colonial homes situated in Fairmount Park. There is correspondence and an inventory for each of the homes, except Laurel Hill, as well as folders documenting the special events and tours held in these homes, particularly the Yuletide tours. Materials assembled for reference, slide lectures and training programs, as well as lectures recorded on video and audio tapes, suggest the ongoing education of the guides. Other historic structures, such as Girard College, John Bartram house and garden, and the Waterwooks, are also documented. Newsletters published from 1992 to 2006 comprise most of the material in the "Membership volunteers" series. There is also material pertaining to training, policies and procedures, and finance, as well as to the Captain's and Executive Committees. The membership volunteer handbook, 2000-2001, is saved on a disk along with other miscellaneous items. Folder-level inventories to each of these series is available in the Archives.

Originally housed in scrapbooks, the papers comprising the final series were retained more as memorabilia rather than official records. Yet the service of the Museum's volunteer guides and the breadth of their work is well-recorded. The material consists primarily of letters of appreciation to the Museum's volunteer guides from individuals representing numerous organizations, school groups and institutions, including several City offices. The guides office dubbed the correspondence their "fan mail." A substantial amount of clippings are also included, featuring the work of the guides on behalf of the Museum as well as their personal collections and studies.