Wanted: Snyder tour guides

Now that the W.P. Snyder is back at its permanent mooring along the banks of the Muskingum River, the Ohio River Museum’s attendance has increased, causing a need for more volunteers.

Museum Director Le Ann Hendershot said there is a need for at least five more volunteers to give tours on the 95-year-old Snyder, the last steamboat of its kind.

“We need volunteers and we’re trying to come up with a way to get volunteers on the Snyder,” she said.

An orientation for potential volunteers will be held at the museum at 10 a.m. July 22.

The museum has been in need of volunteers for several years, since the Friends of the Museum took over operations from the Ohio History Connection (then Ohio Historical Society) in 2009. The hours were expanded from weekends only to the museum being open every day but Tuesdays April through Labor Day. September through October, the museum is open on weekends. While the museum is closed on Tuesdays, and closed all through the winter, Hendershot said it will open its doors during those times to groups of 20 or more.

“Each year (attendance) increases and increases a little more,” she said. “Actually in June, we were up almost 200 people from last June. I think that’s a great increase.”

But with that influx of people comes a need for volunteers, and Hendershot said there are only five or six volunteers currently helping almost full-time.

“We need to start and get a group of volunteers together to help us out,” she said. “It takes a lot more than five to six volunteers…It would be nice to get five to 10 more.”

The training involved in providing tours for the Snyder is provided by the museum free of charge.

“You don’t have to have any experience,” Hendershot said. “We will educate you on what you need to know.”

Getting to learn about the boat is a perk, said Museum Historian Bill Reynolds.

” “(Volunteers) get an in-depth history, not only of the boat, but its mechanics, the insides and outsides of everything,” he said. “They’re shown almost every little minute detail.”

The training should last no longer than two hours, and Hendershot said while it will start in the museum, the focus is on the Snyder.

“Some people, they’ll volunteer once a week,” she said. “Some people are busy and can only volunteer once a month. Whatever we can get them for, we’re happy.”

For those who may want to volunteer, but are not able to make the Tuesday morning training, Hendershot said to call the museum.

“Give a call and we’ll work it out with them,” she said.

Reynolds said the benefits of volunteering with the museum are hard to find elsewhere.

“I think the interesting thing is, it’s a way different place to volunteer than anywhere else in town,” he said. “You can’t find an old steamboat to hang around on (just anywhere)…There’s a lot to learn, there’s a lot of things to look at and try to figure out what that’s all about.”