Volunteers have provided vital services to the presidential
library since it opened 11 years ago. They greet visitors, supervise
children’s activities, assist historians, take photos and much more.
They reached the $10 million threshold just in time for National
Volunteer Week, April 10-16.
“The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum simply would
not be the same wonderful institution without the hard work of our
volunteers,” said Nadine O’Leary, the ALPLM’s acting executive
director. “Their dedication is a testament to how much the people of
Illinois support our mission of honoring President Lincoln.”
Volunteers contribute an average of 40,000 hours of service each
year to the Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum. Most of that
involves assisting guests at the museum, but volunteers contribute
in many other ways, too.
Last year, they worked 3,400 hours at the Papers of Abraham Lincoln
project, 2,400 hours with the Oral History Program and 560 hours in
the library’s Manuscripts Department.
The ALPLM’s amazing volunteers include:
- Carolyn Berning, who in 2007 became the first volunteer to
work in the Oral History Department. Her work helped set the
standards and format for those who followed. Now approximately
30 volunteers help with interviewing, transcribing and editing
- Dorothea Thrasher and Rick Thrasher, a mother and son who
have volunteered since 2005. At 95, Dorothea is the presidential
library’s oldest volunteer and was recently nominated for the
Governor’s Volunteer Service Award. Her son is a retired school
- Brian Replogle, whose volunteer work at the ALPLM led him to
a career in volunteer management. His networking at the
presidential library and volunteer conferences afforded him the
opportunity to become director of volunteers and charity
operations at the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central
- Amy Henrikson, one of the first volunteers assigned to the
Papers of Abraham Lincoln. She has transcribed over 1,000
Lincoln documents since 2011.
- Tom Rozanski, a Champaign resident who drives to Springfield
several times a month to volunteer at the Lincoln Presidential
Library and Museum.
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“Millions of people have visited the museum, conducted research at the library
or used our online resources. All of them, whether they knew it or not,
benefited from the time and talents of our volunteers,” said Heidi Brown-McCreery,
director of the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency.
The value of the volunteers’ time is based on annual rates agreed upon by
national non-profit and volunteer organizations such as Points of Light. The
rate used in calculations at the ALPLM is $22.77 an hour.
The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, a division of the Illinois
Historic Preservation Agency, is dedicated to telling the story of America’s
16th president through old-fashioned scholarship and modern technology.
The library holds an unparalleled collection of Lincoln books, documents,
photographs, artifacts and art, including the Gettysburg Address, Emancipation
Proclamation, 13th Amendment and Abraham Lincoln’s stovepipe hat. It also serves
as the state’s historical library, with some 12 million items pertaining to
The museum is open seven days a week. The library portion of the ALPLM is open
free of charge Monday through Friday for research. For details, visit
[Shanta Thoele, Communications and
Public Affairs, Illinois Historic Preservation Agency]