Steele County Historical Society offers volunteer educational series to improve experiences - Owatonna MN: News

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Posted: Thursday, January 23, 2014 7:00 pm | Updated: 9:31 pm, Thu Jan 23, 2014.

OWATONNA — To improve the visitors’ experience at the Steele County History Center and the Village of Yesteryear, members of the Steele County Historical Society are educating volunteers.

And the monthly educational series kicked off Thursday afternoon.

Dodie Ellingson, historical society volunteer coordinator, and Jerry Ganfield, a member of the historical society board, presented information to 17 volunteers at the first presentation.

“We want to give all volunteers background so they have a comfort level when people ask them questions no matter what area they are in,” Ganfield said.

A presentation was held at 1:30 p.m. and 6 p.m. at the History Center for volunteers, historical society members and the public.

Ellingson said the purpose of the event was to entertain and inform volunteers and guests about the Dunnell House, the family and its artifacts.

“We’ll then go from building to building, but we’re starting with the Dunnell House because it’s the centerpiece of the village,” she said.

Ellingson started the presentation with history about Mark Hill Dunnell, his children, and what is known now about the family.

It also included a room-by-room photo tour of the Dunnell House with information about its refurbishing and artifacts.

“This is a perfect opportunity for you to learn about our local history and all the amazing artifacts and information that is part of the village,” Ellingson said.

Ganfield said the series is also being used to raise awareness about volunteer opportunities at the History Center, especially in the summer.

“We really need tour guides in the summer when we run six days a week,” he said. “We’re short there, and with this facility we are looking for more people to do stuff here.”

The historical society offers volunteer opportunities for people interested in areas like the gift shop, maintenance, baking, touring, archiving, processing acquisitions, genealogy, calling and many others.

Ellingson told those who attended the first presentation Thursday that they don’t need to know all the information to volunteer.

“If you tell people all this, they’re going to get bored,” Ganfield said. “We just want to give you a comfort level.”

Ellingson said high-schoolers are welcome to volunteer, too.

To learn more about the educational series or volunteer opportunities, call the Steele County Historical Society at 451-1420

The History Center is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays; 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursdays and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturdays.

Reach reporter Ashley Stewart at 444-2378 or follow her on Twitter.com @OPPashley

© 2015 Southernminn.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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