Sumner Hall’s programs, exhibitions and initiatives are a testimony to the power of volunteers. Since re-opening to the public in 2014, volunteers have been central to everything we envision and undertake. Our fifteen-member Board of Directions functions as the Executive Leadership Team of Sumner Hall, contributing the equivalent of 2 full-time paid staff positions. In addition, our major initiatives are all volunteer led, produced and managed.
The list below outlines the major areas where volunteers support our work. If you wish to spend a few hours a month in one of these volunteer roles, please complete our volunteer registration form using the button below. Training will be provided, as needed, for all volunteers.
- Garden Beautification – Gardens do not plant, water, prune or weed themselves! Keeping out front yard and grounds is an ongoing challenge.
- Building Maintenance – Sumner Hall’s historic building needs constant attention. Deep cleaning, window washing, small repairs, and painting are some of the recurring tasks.
- Fundraising – Donations, Memberships, Rentals, Grants and Contracts make Sumner Hall offerings possible. Volunteer roles include researching grant opportunities, assisting with membership campaigns, and securing sponsors for events.
- Administration – Program coordination and assisting with various administrative tasks (writing thank-you notes, filing, documenting projects) are top priorities for volunteer assistance.
- Support to Veterans
1. Care Packages – Creating packages of useful items for veterans in need of help.
2. Visits and Assistance – Paying visits to homebound veterans, delivering care packages and helping with other needs.
- Veterans of Kent County – Their Stories
1. Outreach – Identifying veterans currently living in Kent County and telling them about the Heartland Project interviews that Sumner Hall is compiling.
2. Video Interviews – Assisting with or conducting interviews with veterans for Sumner Hall’s Collection.
3. Digitization of Resources – Archiving historical items using equipment at Sumner Hall; ability to use Microsoft Suite programs required.
African American History and Culture
- Host at Sumner Hall – Saturday hosting (10 am – 1 pm) to welcome visitors to Sumner Hall and introduce them to current exhibits.
- Children’s Education Initiative
1. Library and Teacher Trunks – Sumner Hall has a collection of nearly 400 children’s books about African American History and Culture. They are organized as a set of Teacher Trunks for use in classroom or small group settings. Volunteer roles include planning for use of the materials and making presentations.
2. Chestertown Tea Party Play – Sumner Hall produces a play for the annual Tea Party Celebration; planning will start in the fall of 2021 for the June 2022 event.
- Legacy Day Celebration
1. Program Committee – Legacy Day planning is an all-year affair. The program committee sets the theme, commissions the research needed to produce an exhibit, and plans all details of the event.
2. Publicity and Community Relations Committee – Getting the word out throughout the community is the key to successful a Legacy Day celebration; a wide variety of volunteer jobs supports the event.
Social Justice and Racial Equity
- Special Programs Planning – In the past, these have included programs on Covid Vaccination Hesitancy and anti-racist behavior; future activities need to be identified, planned and produced.
- James Taylor Justice Coalition – Educating the community about the impact of racial terror lynchings on current civic life. Two major roles are working on the Equal Justice Initiative Student Essay Contest and preparing for a state meeting discussing this topic.
Volunteer roles at Sumner Hall support our mission: To preserve Sumner Hall as a place of remembrance of the contributions of African Americans who served in the U.S. Civil War by (1) honoring all African American veterans of the U.S. Armed Services; (2) promoting an understanding of the African American experience within the overall context of American history and culture; and (3) advocating for social justice and racial equity in all aspects of civic life.
To learn more about volunteer opportunities that match your interests, skills and time availability, please complete our Volunteer Application Form. One of our Volunteer Coordinators will be in touch with you soon to discuss your participation.