Volunteer Training

(outdated, but some helpful information)


  • Volunteer Coordinator Ellen Henson, 848-3505
  • President of the Board David Duncan, 907-9805
  • David Lovegrove, 864-640-9718

Volunteer Hours: You can choose how often you want to volunteer at the museum. There is a need for substitutes as well as people who choose a regular schedule, such as once a week, once a month, or once every other month.

It is important to call the director or volunteer coordinator as soon as possible if there is a schedule change for you. In case of illness, call as early as possible.

Parking: There are 2 public lots: beside the fire station with sidewalk across State Auto lot approaching the rear of the building (sidewalk beside the museum) and across the street between the restaurants. The 2 spaces at the Police Station can be used to unload someone and leave.

Handicap access: Wheelchair access is to the right of the building beside the Police Station. There is a ramp at the rear. Persons using this door will ring a door bell.

The Building: Please become familiar with the building.

Restrooms: There are 3: men and women in back and a staff restroom off the library. Encourage the public to use those in the rear of the building but do not deny access to the front one for someone who cannot walk to the back.

Water: there is no water fountain. If someone truly needs water, there are cups in the staff room/office to give them to use in the bathroom.

Special features of the building: 1935 WPA (Works Project Administration, a Roosevelt Depression era program) Post Office. The cornerstone gives date & architect if someone asks.

  1. Terrazzo flooring original lobby; maple flooring original.
  2. Mural 1940 Information on sign
  3. Skylight and original shade to cover sun at noon
  4. Postal inspector’s observation point
  5. Civil Service bulletin boards for postal workers information
  6. Service unit belonged to 1927-1935 post office on Trade (Cazbah Restaurant for new people; Price’s Feed & Seed for old-timers)
  7. Library: Postmaster’s office, later Mayor’s Office
  8. Post Office from 1935-1964. City Hall 1968-2008.

Galleries left side:

  1. Early history, agriculture, and textiles.
  2. Schools & Church (small room)
  3. Home life, fashion
  4. Business in Greer
  5. Medical & Mortuaries

Right side: Theater & Library

Front right corner: gift shop

Center: railroad history, buggy, post office, airport, city of Greer.

Back area: local art; 1970s aerial map of Greer

Basic Greer History: Give out the brochure.

Do you buy or sell artifacts? NO. All items are donated and become part of the public trust.

Do you take items on loan? Occasionally items are loaned for short-term display at the person’s own risk. Permanent loan items are discouraged. To meet the loan criteria, an item must be related to greater Greer history, a local person of note, or a one-of-a-kind or unusual item.

When was Greer founded? 1876

Why was it named Greer? It was first called “Greer’s Depot” because James Manning Greer sold right of way for tracks and land for a depot to the Airline RR. When it was incorporated in 1876, Greer no longer owned the land but the town was named “Greers.” The “s” was dropped in the early part of the 20th century but officially dropped in 1976.

Who really started Greer? Terry Shumate, who bought Greer’s land and subdivided it into lots.

What was the industry? Greer began as a farming town buying cotton from local farmers. Between 1895 and 1909 four textile mills were built. Greer was a mill town until the 1980s.

Any famous people connected to Greer? Shoeless Joe Jackson played a season for Victor Mill. Dr. Few the founder of Trinity College that became Duke University was from Greer.

Besides cotton, what other crops were grown? Peach orchards surrounded Greer. The first South Carolina Peach Festival was held in Greer 1957-67.

What is unique about Greer? It is a city in 2 counties. This division is based on an old Indian Boundary Line, drawn by the British with the Cherokees. It is a city that is not a suburb of Greenville or Spartanburg. It has always had its own identity and reinvents itself with the times.

Does the museum catalog artifacts? Yes. The museum has devised its own system, using a standard nomenclature for museums.

  1. Pick up front door key if you are assigned to open. On the left of the 2nd set of doors is the alarm pad. Wave the alarm key over the square to disarm. A message will show it is disarmed.
  2. Turn on lights. In the main gallery only the track lights are need on a bright day. The switch for the left galleries is inside the door to the left. Leave off unnecessary lights to save cost.
  3. In the back office check answering machine for messages. Answer ones that you can or leave for director.
  4. Keep the back office locked when staff is not using it. Keys for the AV cabinet, back door, office, and mail box are in the gift shop—top drawer on left.
  5. Feel free to use the office for lunch, break, etc. There is a coffee pot, coffee, bottled water and drinks in the frig. Any candy or snack crackers are for staff. There is a basket for change to help replace items used.
  6. Check mail box in front. Water library plant if needed.
  1. Check that everyone is out of the building. Check restrooms.
  2. Reset thermostat if you have changed it.
  3. Check coffee pot. Turn off any display lights not on the regular switches.
  4. Check that the TV and DVD are off.
  5. Check that the backdoor is locked. Be sure that the door to the basement is closed.
  6. Turn off all lights.
  7. Arm the alarm. You have 60 seconds to leave. If you forget something and return, it may take several swipes to disarm. If the alarm goes off, call Blue Ridge Security or they will call you. The password is MUSE.>
  8. Lock the door. Drop the key into the LOCKED mailbox. Be sure that it is locked.

Some people enjoy browsing by themselves; others like a “tour” and chat about the items. Greet people as they arrive. Ask them to sign the guest register. Why? Statistics are important in funding, grants, accommodation taxes, etc. If there are visitors who do not sign, count them and note the number at the bottom of the page for that day.

A good opening: “Start your tour to the left. If you have questions, please ask. If you would like to see a 3 to 4 minute movie, please let me know when you finish.”

You can usually tell from their responses if they would like you to go with them. Some will look and then return to ask questions or take you to an area to ask about a specific item. If you don’t know, say so. We don’t know everything about each item.

One volunteer docent should stay to the front to watch the gift shop and greet people. While there are people in the galleries, it’s a good idea for the other docent to circulate.

Turn on the TV and VCR. Relock the cabinet. The remote for the DVD player can be left on top of the cabinet for people to use. The menu of movies is posted.

The prices are posted. There is no sales tax as this is a nonprofit corporation. Small change for is available. To break larger bills there is additional money in the office.

On the pad note the item sold and the amount collected.

Example: Toy 1.50 post card .35

The books are sorted by topics: schools to the far right with additional books in cabinets underneath, city directories and phone books, Greer history, textiles, churches, Dark Corner and other local areas together. Scrapbooks, magazines, and program booklets are in the cabinets below. The drawers also have information. Under the map table are files of maps, posters, and newspapers. The file cabinets also hold historical clippings. One is the Verne Smith papers. The other has information on local history.

If someone visits or calls with a question about local history that you cannot answer, please the note the question, person’s name and phone number. The director will return the call with the information. Many of these questions can be answered with the Greer history books.

MISC.: the difference between a director and a curator. The director is the general operations officer. The curator is in charge of the collection of artifacts. In this museum the director assumes both roles.

Board of Directors: the museum is run by an eleven member board. The director sits on the board as a non-voting member. Board meetings are quarterly and have open attendance.