A note from Meadow Brook Hall’s Visitor Services Manager Connor Newton, in honor of National Volunteer Week, April 17 through 23, 2022:
National Volunteer Week is an important time at Meadow Brook Estate. Our operations today, and in decades past, have relied on the committed group of individuals who freely contribute their time, effort, and expertise to Meadow Brook, in order to see our institution succeed. Without our hundreds of devoted volunteers, the interpretation and preservation of this remarkable National Historic Landmark would not be possible.
National Volunteer Week began over fifty years ago, during the same decade Meadow Brook Hall became a public museum house and cultural venue. Established in 1974 by an Executive Order from President Richard Nixon, National Volunteer Week is an opportunity for organizations to recognize volunteers and all they give to their communities.
Every President since Richard Nixon has issued, regardless of Party, a Proclamation supporting this important initiative, including President Joe Biden, who noted in his message on Friday, April 15: “Volunteerism is… a reinforcing cycle.” In a world draped in division and hardship, from War to the Coronavirus Pandemic, such a vital cycle fosters shared hope, and the service of volunteers across this country and the world manifestly makes the world a better place.
Matilda and Alfred Wilson committed their lives to service, including with the foundation of a public university–of which their former home, Meadow Brook Hall, remains an integral part. Since 1971, when Meadow Brook’s volunteer docent program began, many hundreds of volunteers have worked to share and preserve this beautiful legacy.
In 2021, we celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of our volunteer program and Meadow Brook Hall as a museum. Our hundreds of active volunteers gave over 14,000 hours of service, despite the trials and limitations brought about by the Coronavirus pandemic. And this service takes on many different forms.
In 2022, we mark the exciting thirtieth anniversary of the Meadow Brook Garden Club, which was organized in 1992, and now has hundreds of members who maintain and beautify our lovely grounds and gardens.
Our volunteers also work in collections care; interpret the Hall and its artifacts for thousands of guests; battle invasive plants in our woodlands; set deer fences and decorations, and untangle holiday lights; warmly greet and aide our guests at events, and assist them in our Museum Store–this is to say, our volunteers give a great deal.
The Dodge-Wilson family, who gave so much and also faced many challenges of their own, would be so impressed by the diversity of service reflected in our program, and the resoluteness and generosity of our volunteers, whose ranks continue to grow across our eight unique volunteer areas.
On behalf of all of us at Meadow Brook, we wish to thank our current and past volunteers for their commitment to honoring the Dodge-Wilson family legacy for over fifty years. Our success and long-term mission can only continue because of you.
For more information about volunteering at Meadow Brook, visit meadowbrookhall.org.volunteer.