Archive for July, 2009

Volunteering, it really does make a difference!


Hilda Hawk, a volunteer of over 10 years welcomed me this morning, as she does every Wednesday, with her fantastic smile and an inquiry into the life of my 1 year old, I tell her she is fine and that I expect my little one will walk any day now. After chatting with Hilda on my morning rounds, I looked around and noticed how busy things were and that there were volunteers everywhere, doing exactly what they should be doing, having fun and helping out! Some of the youth volunteers were teaching other kids about the fossils in our limestone floors, our IMAX® crew was taking tickets for the movie and letting guests know that the best seats are in the middle, toward the back of the theater and I noticed one of our Greeters was snapping a photo of a family at the Giants of the Mesozoic overlook. It was at this moment that I remembered how exciting the Museum is, how much I deeply care for everything that goes on here at Fernbank and how much I love working with volunteers!

Many of the volunteers have been with the Museum from its inception and many have joined the ranks only in the past year. All of them inspire me. They have given me a deeper appreciation and understanding of volunteer work and how valuable it can be to an institution. I have volunteers that come from all walks of life, the young and the old, folks that have had long and dubious careers, people who have recently had their careers stopped short due to our current economic crisis and folks that are just starting out. The fascinating part is that no matter where they came from or what their intentions are…as a volunteer, they are united it the same goals: a passion for people, for giving and for Fernbank.

I learn so much from the volunteers. The most important lesson they have taught me is how necessary it is to give your personal time to a cause you believe in. It is certainly their attitude and commitment to Fernbank that enrich our guests experience and without them we would truly be at a loss! Their friendly faces and helpful demeanor make a difference to each and every visitor that comes through the doors. We have been so busy lately that I feel like I have been taking them for granted and haven’t thanked them enough for all of their hard work and dedication and for that, I apologize. Thank you Fernbank Volunteers, we couldn’t survive without you!

Michele Kresge, Manager of Member and Volunteer Services

Editors Note: Contact us at if you’d like to receive information about volunteering your time at Fernbank Museum.


July 22, 2009 at 7:02 pm Leave a comment

My First Summer Camp



This is my 8th summer working at Fernbank Museum , and every year I jokingly say “I’m going to camp this summer,” while secretly wishing I could join the fun. This past June, my wish came true when I was invited to join camp to take photos during Fernbank’s first mock archaeology excavation.

In what was once a formal garden behind a stately Druid Hills estate, sat a reflecting pool, which overtime became overgrown with weeds and wild flowers. In May, archaeology programs specialist Kate Jackson took on the daunting task of clearing out this area, pulling weeds, moving mounds of dirt and shifting heavy stones. The once unused space was transformed into a mock archaeology excavation site, complete with hidden artifacts and stratigraphy (differing layers of dirt). The purpose of this area is to expand on Fernbank’s well-established educational offerings, to provide a truly hands-on archaeology learning opportunity.

A group of eager, enthusiastic rising 4th and 5th graders in our Science Squad summer camp were lucky enough to be selected to be the first to try out the new site. I was fortunate enough to be invited along to photograph this new and exciting excursion.

It was HOT. Not just warm, but steamy, hair frizzing humid hot. I don’t like to sweat, I’d much rather be sitting the florescent glow of my often sub-zero office, so I was expecting to take a few photos and head back to my “normal” job.

What I soon realized, this was more than just kids picking through dirt. They were transformed into junior archaeologists, complete with “dig kits” (trowels, brushes, etc.) Working in pairs, each team was assigned their own 4’ x 4’ square unit, and provided with real tools to use.

We found A BONE,” exclaimed a team. Without thinking I immediately began taking pictures in that general direction, not sure what to expect to see. Without feeling the heat or even worrying if the sweat beading on my forehead would make my mascara run, I was instantly engaged. Moving from unit to unit checking out the variety of objects, some easily identifiable (a piece of pottery, shell fragments, parts of an animal skull), and some that just looked like rocks to me, but were actually pieces of flint. Flint, I learned, is one of several types of rock used by early Native Americans to create projectile points and other stone tools, such as spear points, knives, scrapers, and arrowheads.  

Perhaps the highlight of my archaeology excursion was overhearing a camper say to his partner “Since we became a team, we’ve found millions of stuff!”

Working at a museum has it’s challenges, but days like this, when I get to see our work “in action,” and most of all, get to see the response of the people we impact…let’s just say, these are the days that keep  me going.

Deanna Smith, Director of Marketing

July 13, 2009 at 5:24 pm Leave a comment


At Fernbank Museum, there’s much more than dinosaurs and giant-screen films. Even with our website, e-newsletters, Facebook pages and Twitter updates, there’s still a lot we’d like to share with you. This blog is an opportunity for the people that keep Fernbank running and constantly expanding, to share stories from their point of view. We hope you’ll enjoy these first-hand, behind-the-scenes glimpses of what goes into keeping a world-class natural history museum running. As always, we’d love to hear your feedback on these stories, to hear your personal experiences and hear any suggestions for topics. Happy reading!