by Anne Cooper, Curator

As we all know, there are seasons to life. We cycle through times of feast and famine. In many ways, the life and experiences of a single person mirror those of a community. Beginning in the mid-1970s and continuing until fairly recently, the Kelley House Museum experienced a bounty of volunteers.

What is difficult to know is the underlying cause of these cyclic manifestations. Was it the particular mystique of the Kelley House at its beginning that drew people to us? It was an exciting time in Mendocino — the historic district was being established, collections were being acquired, people were finding their way here and discovering that they could contribute in meaningful ways. The house was being restored and the museum we have today is a result of the efforts of many volunteers.

Or, was it the nature of these people themselves, this drive to give of their time and talents, not only of their treasure? These were members of the Greatest Generation, those who spent their youngest years and early adulthood growing up during the Great Depression and then serving in World War II. Their parents and life lessons must have instilled in them the importance of “giving back to the community.” They had a vision of the future and understood the importance of establishing a place where our local history would be collected and saved so that it could be shared with residents and visitors alike.

We wish to thank ALL our volunteers: past, present and future. The folks from the future, soon to be present, are the ones we are most anxious to meet! If you are looking for a place to call a home away from home, a place where you are able to pursue your gifts, a place within a community of people who find joy in the discovery of ways to touch the past and make it tangible, please join us! You are welcome to stop by, give us a call or shoot us an email

VOLUNTEERS PAST (See photo above) — Kelley House docents visit the Sun House (Grace-Hudson Museum) in Ukiah, c. 1980. Left to right: Wally Smith, Maxine Ramsey, Lyle Guipre, Betty Smith, Rita Fenton, Dee Lemos, Merrill Woodie, Pat Soweke, Ruth Woodie, Gene Abbett, Evelyn Parker, Kelley House Museum Director Ann Campbell, and Marion Fry.