Valerie Buckie honoured for 25 years of service to Park House Museum

 

By Joel Charron

For 25 years Valerie Buckie has helped keep the Park House Museum up and running.

This past Sunday, Buckie was the guest of honour at a dinner at the Royal Canadian Legion Br. 157, thanking her for all her years of service.

“Valerie truly deserves this,” said longtime friend and Park House Museum volunteer Teddie Keith. “So many times she goes above and beyond what’s required from her.”

Twenty-five years ago a friend suggested to Buckie that she apply at the Park House Museum to assists with its school programming.

“They thought I would be good for the job since I was a teacher,” said Buckie. “I went along and was interviewed by Hazen Price and Rev. John Burkhart and was offered the job.”

At the time, Buckie said she thought they were foolish to hire her because she didn’t know anything about museums and offered to take the job on a six-month trail period.

“They took me on for six months and I’m still there,” she joked.

Buckie said the past 25 years at the Park House have been “truly wonderful.”

 

Valerie Buckie (middle) stands with Wanda King (left) and longtime friend and Park House volunteer Teddie Keith

“I love my job,” she stated. “I love interacting with the children and I love meeting people. The Park House has tied me to this community in a way I wouldn’t have been otherwise.”

Buckie believes the Park House Museum is important to the community because it tells the stories of not just the people of Amherstburg but also the period in which they lived.

“I think that’s a resource and it’s something we need to save for the future,” said Buckie.

In the past 25 years, Buckie said that the town has been “very helpful” in preserving its history.

Buckie has even approached the town, asking them if they would be willing to pay the salary of the new curator when Buckie steps down in the near future.

“We need to get somebody who has the qualifications and who will have the foresight to bring the Park House forward,” said Buckie. “Times are changing and its time for someone new to come in and bring fresh ideas.”

Buckie said when she   steps down, she wouldn’t mind volunteering from time to time but feels it’s not fair to the incoming curator if she is a constant fixture.

“Whoever comes in needs to put their own stamp on the place,” she said.

Buckie said she has learned quite a bit over the last 25 years but one thing that will stick with her is the generosity of the Amherstburg residents.

“There are plenty of people who are committed to this community,” she said. “It’s been a real eye opener knowing that there are so many people who are willing to give up their time to help. I think in a small town that’s a wonderful quality.”

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