Job Description

Kawanhee Historical Society
Job Description

Summary

Camp Kawanhee for Boys in Weld, Maine is offering a position of summer curator in the Camp Kawanhee History Museum. The position is an ideal opportunity for a college student with an interest in history and/or library and archival sciences. The History Museum Curator will divide his/her time between cataloging and organizing the collection and welcoming visitors and conducting oral history interviews. This is an 8-week position (mid-June through mid-August) and includes room and board at the Camp. The successful candidate will be an outgoing self-starter with strong organizational and writing skills. In addition, the successful candidate will enjoy the opportunity to spend the summer in a rustic lake-side, classic summer camp setting in Maine and plan to involve him/herself in the daily life of the Camp (campers range in age from 8 to 17). The History Museum Curator is required to comply with rules and regulations that govern the work of all Camp staff and will need to pass a full background check that is required for all Camp staff. The Curator will report to the Executive Director; a group of volunteers will help to direct the Curator’s daily work. To learn more and/or apply, please email Tom Pears at tompears@hotmail.com. Applications should include a cover letter expressing interest, a resume, and a list of references.

Background Information

Camp Kawanhee recently celebrated its 95th anniversary, and has begun to collect archival materials in anticipation of its 100th anniversary in 2020. The materials collected thus far number in the thousands. They need to be protected and cataloged; displays need to be created, and summary articles written. The History Museum, which – like all the buildings at Camp Kawanhee – is housed in a rustic cabin and is open to visitors daily, including campers. The visitors need to be greeted, introduced to the collections and, as appropriate, oral history accounts need to be collected from visitors who have attended the camp.

This is a unique chance to work with Primary Sources. You will be the second person to hold this position and, therefore, have a very important role in shaping the Museum. There are very few camps that have operated continuously for almost 100 years. Why has Kawanhee survived and prospered? That is a question you may want to investigate throughout the summer. Kawanhee has a large loyal alumni population – many of whom are drawn back to Camp during the summer months. They are a source of a great deal of information and history that has, thus far, been lost to the Camp. You have an opportunity to recapture that information.

Accommodations are rustic with shared rooms and bathroom facilities. Meals are served in a large dining hall, and the Curator will be eating with campers and fellow staff. The Camp is fairly remote, about a mile from the closest town center. The Curator will need to provide his/her own transportation. While the focus of the position will be on the History Museum, the Curator can avail him/herself of the various opportunities offered by a summer camp setting: waterfront activities, a ropes course, archery and range, etc. The rhythms of the Curator’s week will, to a great extent, mirror those for the Camp’s counselors.  Generally, the Curator will take off a day per week, understanding that visitors are as likely to show up on a Sunday morning as a Wednesday afternoon.

A typical day might look like this: Following a morning swim (the Camp has a tradition of the 7:00 a.m. Polar Bear swim) and breakfast with the campers, the Curator will open the History Museum at 9 am and spend a little time sweeping, arranging items and being sure the space is welcoming. The quiet of the morning would provide a good time to just pick up a random catalog, parent’s newsletter or other material and do a little reading. A parent might arrive. The Curator will ask the visitor to sign the guest book and leave an address and explain the contents of the history cabin, pick one topic for a short “here is something I found interesting” or “I was just reading about…” and then ask the guest if they have any questions or would like to hear more about anything in particular. If the guest has a prior connection to Kawanhee, the Curator is expected to learn more about that connection and encourage the visitor to share their stories. The Curator will want to take notes and if the visitor is expansive and agreeable, the Curator is encouraged to turn on the video camera.

When there are no visitors or the visitor is occupied, the Curator might return to writing an article about a particular building. Catalogs from 1924 to the present would be searched for pictures of the building or mentions of its use. Often the materials thus collected are displayed on a poster board so visitors can get an idea of the topic. When completed, the article would be available for handout, online and possibly sent out as part of a parent newsletter. Then you greet the next visitor, start the next article, record the next camp event, catalog the waiting materials.

Lunch is at noon and is followed by a rest hour. A camper might stop in during the afternoon. You would treat the camper like any visitor. See if you can find something that interests them. Record a story if they want to share one with you. Maybe you could even interest them in helping you do research or organize the collection.

You might spend an hour in the afternoon recording a camp activity or event. Take some time off to walk or swim. The Executive Director might suggest a special project that will help provide some insight into the dynamics of the camp, and/or assist with some administrative projects. Dinner is at 6pm. There are various activities at night, including camp fires, skits, and games. The Curator will be an integral part of the Camp Kawanhee community.

This is a very special opportunity for the right person. To learn more and/or apply, please email Tom Pears at tompears@hotmail.com