Did You See Us on TV?, World TB Day, Tour Guides Needed
ENJOY A TOUR
The museum has upped its number of visitors per tour thanks to dropping infection rates. We still require masks for the safety of our volunteers. Outdoor tours are offered on a weather-permitting basis and we continue to encourage school and college programs to visit. Perhaps your group would like to book a tour?
The Old Administration Building viewed through the East Street gate.
The PHM was featured on WCVB's Chronicle, a nightly television digest of activities in and around New England. Thanks to a kind email from a visitor suggesting the museum as a hidden gem, producers came out and toured with museum president Al DeMaria. Al gave an interview and the segment ran on February 15, 2022. If you missed it, watch the clip here.
Join a free webinar hosted in honor of Dr. Thomas Garvey’s commitment to his patients as a primary care provider and longtime member of the Massachusetts Advisory Committee for the Elimination of TB (MACET).
Dr. Garvey was committed to public health advocacy, education and TB elimination. In light of World TB Day, speakers will raise awareness of the social and economic consequences of TB, and provide an overview of global and local TB epidemiology. The lecture runs from 10:30AM-Noon.
Course credit is available for doctors and nurses who participate. Public health professionals involved in infection control and community health workers are invited to attend as well as the general public,
Register at this link to participate in the course or listen to the free lecture.
Preserving our collection of original patient records is an important priority for the museum. We work on genealogy requests which are sent to the Museum, mostly from people whose ancestors either lived or worked at Tewksbury State Hospital. These records are vital sources of information for those searching for family history and they also offer a fascinating look into life at the Tewksbury Almshouse and the Tewksbury State Hospital.
from Sandra Price, Coordinator of Volunteer Engagement
Dedication, spirit, diversity are three words that come to mind when I describe our volunteers. They provide vital services to the museum, visitors, and have developed friendships with each other! Our volunteers are retired nurses, public health officials, financiers, medical technicians, museum educators, teachers, and librarians and all have a passion for sharing the importance of public health.
Volunteers lead visitors through the exhibits of public health artifacts and often share their individual experiences on the tours. Walking tours of the Tewksbury Hospital grounds are led by an enthusiastic volunteer offering a historical perspective of the community that existed long ago.
Sometimes there are surprises, like when David was in the Nursing exhibit showing a couple a picture of Tewksbury Hospital graduates from the late 1970s.The husband exclaimed “That’s my sister. I never saw that before!” Liz reports that visitors comment, “I have never seen an iron lung before, that’s awesome!” “Paul Revere was a dentist?” “I never heard of cowpox!”
Visitors may get emotional when Mary introduces the Mental Health exhibit, oftentimes having had family at the hospital or other institutions. Phyllis shares her experiences as a former nurse as well. Paul hears these comments on walking tours,; “Such stories of poverty, health wellness, immigration with over almost 150 years of history.” “Incredible buildings, beautiful architecture…..”
Other volunteers work on genealogy requests. Julie says “Most of these requests are from people whose ancestors either worked or lived at Tewksbury Hospital long ago. Along with Julie, longtime volunteer, Emy, also supports the genealogy efforts. And Ruth keeps us going by keeping the exhibits in top shape.
We welcome two new volunteers, Jim and Colleen, who will be involved with genealogy and tours respectively. Interested in public health, history of Tewksbury Hospital, have the time to volunteer? We’d love to hear from you! And, at a recent indoor tour, a visitor exclaimed, “All this for $5.00. WOW!
The Public Health Museum could not function without the many hours of work provided by our team of crack volunteers. Paul joined in 2020 and quickly became our Walking Tour guide extraordinaire. Volunteer Mary Fergusen asked Paul a few questions to share with us about his life and experience working at the museum.
How did you become interested in volunteering at the Public Health Museum?
I walk five miles a day for my health. I am a resident of Tewksbury and I discovered that the campus of Tewksbury Hospital is my favorite place to walk. Before that I knew nothing about Tewksbury Hospital. I became fascinated by all the old buildings and wondered about the people who lived, worked and were patients here. I did a lot of research on my own and my interest grew. I noticed the signs for the museum and that walking tours of the campus were offered. I signed up for a tour and knew then that I wanted to lead tours myself.
What is your work and educational history?
I got my bachelors degree from Northeastern University. I was fortunate that my working life allowed me to travel all over the world. My last job before retirement was working at Digital Equipment Corporation as a Senior International Financial Analyst. I am a lifelong New Englander, born in Somerville.
What is your favorite thing about being a volunteer at the Public Health Museum?
I love to teach people about the buildings and what took place here. My favorite structures are the massive, ornate wooden doors attached to the Southgate building. I see them as a work of art. They were built around 1901 and were operated by security guards who lived in the building to lock at night at a time when the complex was entirely gated.
What do you think the future holds for the campus?
I fear that in the not too distant future all of the abandoned buildings will be demolished. Although preserved in many books, to me it is not the same as actually seeing the structures and hearing the history of what has taken place here. My goal is to teach as many people as possible about Tewksbury Hospital, it’s role in public health and it’s rich history since 1854.
February is Heart Health Month. Even modest exercise is good for your heart. How much is enough? Aim for at least 2½ hours of physical activity eachweek—that’s just 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week. In addition, do muscle strengthening exercises 2 days a week. Can’t carve out a lot of time in your day? Don’t chuck your goal, chunk it! Try 10 or 15 minutes a few times a day. Watch this fun video from the NIH to learn more about what you can do to strengthen your heart.
The museum is proud to be part of the Massachusetts office of Travel and Tourism Visit MA and My Local MA campaigns. There is so much to see and do in Massachusetts, and we encourage everyone to get out and enjoy our great state! Click here to learn more!