Volunteers at the New Mexico Farm & Ranch Heritage Museum in Las Cruces worked nearly 4,000 hours during fiscal year 2017.

The 68 volunteers worked 3,986.75 hours from July 2016 through June 2017. The estimated value of a volunteer hour, according to grantspace.org, is $24.14, so the total value for the year is $96,240.14.

Museum volunteers do a variety of tasks, including: demonstrations, leading tours, answering the phone, helping with exhibits, collections, and oral history, working outside or in the library, and much more.

“Volunteers are the life blood of our Museum and it is truly remarkable that we have such a dedicated group,” said Museum Director Mark Santiago. “We could not have achieved half of what we are able to do without our volunteers, a fact that was noted by the reviewers for our recent American Alliance of Museum Accreditation, who called attention to our ‘educated, committed and experienced corps of volunteers.’ ”

In addition, the Friends of the Museum, the support arm of the Museum, had 27 volunteers who worked 1,437.5 hours last year. The combined monetary work value of the two groups of volunteers is $130.941.39.

The volunteers, some of who have been with the Museum for more than 20 years, invest in the Museum’s important mission of preserving and sharing the state’s unique farming and ranching history.

“Volunteering at the Museum is a way for me to give back,” said Nancy Clegg, who is one of the 20-year veterans. “I enjoy the social part of it, too. Coming out and taking part in the training classes or taking a field trip. I think most of us feel that way.”

The Museum has its Volunteer Appreciation Dinner each April, and the volunteers are invited to take regular field trips in the region. Earlier this week, the group toured the Dona Ana County Clerk Office’s collection of historical documents, which includes the Coroner Jury’s report on Pat Garrett, and many other valuable and interesting objects and papers.

The Museum, a division of the New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs, continues to need more volunteers to help share this important story. Anyone interested in volunteering should call (575) 522-4100.

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