Our volunteers bring diverse talents to their contributions here. Kelly has a PhD in American History, and has chosen to share her knowledge as a Gallery Guide. Here’s what she had to say about her time with us.

“I moved to Virginia Beach two and a half years ago. At the time, I was finishing my dissertation in American history and knew no one here except my husband’s family. I started volunteering at the Virginia Beach Surf & Rescue Museum because it was an opportunity to practice something I already loved—history—and the chance to learn about my new home. I was immediately fascinated by the history of the US Life-Saving Service and the role that the surfmen played in the early days of the oceanfront. It’s truly amazing the lengths that these men went to rescue the men and women who found themselves wrecked off of the Virginia coast.

Although the stories that I share with guests are always historically accurate, every tour that I give is a little different. I like to emphasize the daily lives of the surfmen and their families, and how the work affected the community at the oceanfront. I change my tour based on how much time I have with a group, or who is in the group and what they already know about the Life-Saving Service. Last summer a family came into the museum and the oldest son was preparing to join the Coast Guard. He already knew every date and detail about how the surfmen saved lives from the beach rescue stations, and his parents beamed with pride.

As a historian it is immensely fulfilling to meet people and for a few minutes out of their day, have the opportunity to tell them about the history of a place and of a people so that they walk away with a new perspective on their own world. That’s what I get to do every time I volunteer at the Surf & Rescue Museum.”

Kelly has been a valuable part of our volunteer team since 2016. You’ll find her in the gallery on many Saturday mornings, ready to share the stories she loves with visitors.

If you have a passion for history and want to join our team, just complete our volunteer application.