The C.H. Nash Museum at Chucalissa is currently hosting the River Two AmeriCorps NCCC Team – our fifth team in the past 3 years. Over that period the AmeriCorps Teams have proved an integral part in our museum operation and outreach to the surrounding community. Each eight-week team hosted at our museum participates in three types of activities:
- Service to underserved veteran and elderly homeowners in the community surrounding the C.H. Nash Museum. This activity primarily consists of assisting with major landscaping clean-ups and light to moderate repairs to the exterior of homes. This past month the River Two Team painted and refurbished the home and grounds of a disabled Vietnam-era Veteran.
- Service to the nearby T.O. Fuller State Park. Here the River Two Team painted outbuildings, built a bridge, and performed maintenance on the six miles of nature trails.
- At the C.H. Nash Museum the River Two Team finished construction on a 30-foot square pergola and built a second rain shelter on our nature trail. They will end their round in Memphis by performing a complete upgrade to our hands-on archaeology lab.
For the small museum, AmeriCorps NCCC Teams can be a great way to “Get Things Done,” as suggested by their solution-oriented motto. I can walk through our museum and point to the boxes of artifacts they have helped process, the shelving units they built in our repository, the replica prehistoric house they built on our grounds, the ghost house atop of our prehistoric mounds – after three years, the list seems endless!
However, the AmeriCorps Team value far exceeds the tangible evidence of their participation that they leave behind. AmeriCorps Teams also serve as mentors to youth who visit our museum. The Teams also work with area youth in schools, Boys and Girls Clubs, and at community centers in after hours projects. The AmeriCorps Teams have proven an essential link between the surrounding community and the museum. A tradition has developed over the past three years here in Memphis that demonstrates this link. Each year the AmeriCorps Team creates a banner that they present during the annual Veteran Day celebration in the underserved community of Southwest Memphis. This simple act is greatly cherished by everyone attending this annual celebration.
The AmeriCorps NCCC Teams are a fantastic way for the small museum to complete small to medium-sized construction and other types of projects where the materials are available but the skilled labor is too costly or assistance is needed. But most importantly, the AmeriCorps Teams bring an infectious enthusiasm and commitment to any museum or community setting.
For more information about the AmeriCorps NCCC program visit their website (http://www.nationalservice.gov/programs/americorps/americorps-nccc)