Two coincidences led Katherine Heugatter to Washington Crossing Historic Park.
“I had recently moved to the area and was driving on River Road when I saw a ton of cars and wondered what was happening,” she says. “It turned out to be the First Crossing reenactment. Around the same time, a man in my yoga class said he had to work on Christmas Day because he was the Volunteer Coordinator at the park.”
Both coincidences caught Katherine’s attention since she had spent most of her career working in museums and holds degrees in history and museum studies. She soon began volunteering at the park and later became a historical interpreter before taking a job as a gallery educator at the Museum of the American Revolution.
Today, Katherine is back at the park as the Volunteer and Educational Programs Coordinator. It’s a job that keeps her hopping.
“When I wear my volunteer hat, some of my duties include scheduling volunteers for shifts, onboarding new volunteers, and matching volunteers up with their interests,” she says. “When I wear my education hat, I help plan the park’s many programs and events like Washington’s birthday, the July 4th festivities, school field trips, and the two Crossing reenactments among others.”
The park has nearly 500 volunteers, including many reenactors. Katherine says there is a job to match nearly every interest, including working in the gardens, staffing the front desk, caring for animals, leading tours, participating in the fife and drum corps, and serving as an historical interpreter.
“My favorite thing about this job is seeing children or adults suddenly ‘get it’ – what I call a lightbulb moment where they make a connection or get excited about something they learn at the park,” Katherine says. “There’s nothing like it.”
When not working, Katherine enjoys spending time with her dog Robin, catching up with friends and family, and checking out the latest offerings on Netflix. She also splits her vacations between St. Louis (her hometown) and Tarragona, Spain (where her parents have an apartment)