Crawford W. Long Museum
When: Open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday-Friday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday
Where: 28 College St., Jefferson
How much: $5 adults, $4 seniors 65 and older, $3 students and children 5 and younger free
JEFFERSON — Since its grand reopening in January, the Crawford W. Long Museum in Jefferson has seen a dramatic spike in attendance.
In 2007 — the museum's last full year of operation before renovations — there were only 1,063 visitors. So far, in its first quarter after re-opening there have already been 1,133 visitors.
"April was our first $900 admissions month," said Vicki Starnes, museum administrative manager. "Our admissions dollars to date are already at $3,020."
In addition to rehabilitating the structure, the museum’s renovations included updating existing exhibits and adding new ones that focus more on the history of medical advancements.
The renovations also included adding more background about Long, who is credited with being the first person to use ether as a surgical anesthesia in 1842 in his Jefferson office, and opening up the museum’s second floor.
A $200,000 grant from the USDA funded the extensive renovations, which took around a year to complete. Prior to the recent improvements, museum staff say it had been around 20 years since the last updates.
Group visits to the remodeled facility, particularly from local schools and senior groups, have been one of the driving forces behind the increased attendance, Starnes says.
The renewed interest in the museum has led to a new need: volunteer docents.
“A lot of these groups are requesting to have a tour guide,” Starnes said. “So we need to have docents on hand to lead them.”
The museum’s docents will be given notes to help them lead tours and won’t be required to memorize all of the material, Starnes says.
Museum staff have planned two docent training sessions for 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. June 3 and June 8. The sessions will be lead by Lesa Campbell, an independent contractor who oversaw the museum’s renovations and helped plan the new exhibits.
During the training, prospective docents will learn some of the material that they will be asked to share with visitors. The goal of the sessions is to help interested parties determine if being a docent is something that they’d actually like to pursue.
For more information about the training sessions, volunteers should call the museum. If the scheduled training days don’t work, museum staff are willing to work around volunteers’ schedules.