From Joe Spiker, Head Docent Chester Inn Museum:
Anne and I always joke that I am like Jack Torrance at the end of the Shining: that I have always been the caretaker at the Chester Inn. If history teaches us anything, however, it teaches us this: nothing is permanent.
I began at the Chester Inn in the summer of 2016. I had an awkward video call phone interview (before they were commonplace) and by the time I drove home from my second interview former director Deb Montanti somehow called to offer me a position. I am stepping away to accept a full time teaching position with Walters State Community College, a place I have been teaching part time since 2014.
To say that this job has been endlessly rewarding would be an understatement. I have had the chance to do what I love while being unashamedly myself. I have found levels of creativity I wasn’t sure that I still had while being equal parts ridiculous and serious. I am proudest of my work on the two digital series “Exhibit Extras” and “With the Victorians,” helping the Inn grow a more public profile, the History Happy Hour program, and perhaps my favorite thing: co-hosting trivia night with Megan!
Beyond the joys of professional accomplishments, the biggest thing I am taking from the museum is this: advice for what to look for in a job. Work with an institution that you are proud to be affiliated with. Find a staff that welcomes you for who you are and challenges you to become better. Work for leaders that are open to suggestions and that balance high expectations and encouragement. Work with colleagues that support each other and help pull towards common goals.
I have been blessed to be part of a small but amazingly talented staff that has basically become family. We get each other, and genuinely enjoy each other’s company. Deb was the executive director who took a chance on me, and I cannot repay that enough. Megan Tewell is like the other pea in my quirky history nerd pod. Jacob was someone who shared my love of crazy plans including the idea that no plan is too crazy, or unattainable. And I have been with Anne the whole time. She is a fantastic sounding board, strong leader, and above all an amazingly kind human. And all of our volunteers are exceptional, especially Charlene, Janice, Joe, Gordon, and Bob, who have also been here for my whole tenure.
Goodbyes are sad But, I am grateful for my time with the museum, and am excited to see what is next for both the museum and myself.