The Museum of South Texas History’s Education Officer Judy McClelland recently served as a presenter at the Texas Association of Museums’ Annual Conference in March. McClelland was asked to both chair a panel discussion entitled, “Creating A Volunteer Program for the Small to Midsize Museum” and give a talk on implementing a volunteer program from scratch.

“It was a pleasant surprise! And, what a wonderful opportunity it was to share our experience at MOSTHistory with our colleagues from museums across the states of Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona,” says McClelland.

Serving on the panel with McClelland was Jay Black, Curator of the Texas Sports Hall of Fame in Waco, Texas, and Kendall Milton, Curator of the Texas Heritage Museum in Hillsboro, Texas. The presentation provided information on implementing a volunteer program, a list of “do’s and don’ts” on laying the foundation for a volunteer program, and the importance of screening applicants. Session participants were invited to ask questions and share comments and concerns.

The TAM Annual Conference was held at the historic Camino Real Hotel in El Paso, Texas. Following the theme of “Breaking Down Barriers, Building Bridges,” the conference explored ways Texas museums can identify social, economic, political and ideological barriers and break them down by forging new partnerships based on sharing resources.

The Texas Association of Museums was assembled in 1939, but not formally recognized until 1971, a year after MOSTHistory opened its doors in 1970. The Association is a valuable resource for both large and small museum in Texas and the Southwest offering guidance and assistance.

McClelland joined the museum staff in 2004 after an exemplary career as an elementary school teacher. As Education Officer, McClelland has expanded education tours in numbers and in depth of experience for those on tour. She has also refined the docent program. She currently resides in Edinburg with her husband James Henry “Mac” McClelland.

Volunteers are needed and welcomed at the Museum of South Texas History. For more information on becoming a volunteer, call 956-383-6911. The Museum of South Texas History is located on the Courthouse Square in downtown Edinburg.