Living in Washington Crossing means having history right in your backyard. Gift Shop Volunteer Marilyn Konicky shares how volunteering at the park has helped her connect with the past.
“I’ve lived in Washington Crossing for 25 years and when I retired in 2019, I knew I wanted to be involved in volunteering, particularly at the park. I’ve always enjoyed history and as I’ve gotten older, I’ve become even more interested in the history of our country. I joined the Washington Crossing Daughters of the American Revolution in 2015 and learned so much about the huge encampment in Washington Crossing. It was a major event in changing the outcome of the Revolutionary War… and it’s right in my backyard!
I also found I have an ancestor that served in the 1st Regiment from Delaware. I’m not sure if he was specifically in Washington Crossing – I’m still researching that – but I know his regiment was here. It’s amazing to think that 250 years ago one of my ancestors may have been walking on the same ground I walk on today and experiencing an event in history that we continue to study and reenact.
As a grandmother now, it’s important for me to see this interest in history continue. I want my grandchildren to know and understand about our ancestors that participated in this great cause that made a huge difference in establishing our country.
I was trained and ready to start volunteering in early 2020, but had to wait until 2021—after the pandemic—to start. I primarily work in the gift shop with my friend Judy Biederman every Monday for a few hours. I really enjoy being part of living history and working in the gift shop feeds into my creative and shopping genes. I get to see all the new items, decorate interior windows with merchandise and arrange items throughout the shop.
The park has been extremely positive about new ideas and they’re very appreciative of our time. They want their volunteers to be happy and are supportive of each person finding their niche and comfort zone.
New for me this year was volunteering during Colonial Days. I worked two stations: toys and games, and colonial clothing. Teaching school children about history and showing them what colonial life was like was really fun and it was interesting to see how they reacted. One of my key takeaways was that even though the toys of colonial days were very simple, the children had a good time playing with them. At the clothing station many children were fascinated to learn that colonial clothing didn’t have pockets – a pocket was something you tied on – and that most people only had one outfit, two if they were lucky.”
To learn more about volunteering at Washington Crossing Historic Park visit: https://www.washingtoncrossingpark.org/about/volunteer/.