Creating advocates for history through the stories of greater Los Angeles.
By Steven Dugan
It is often said that word-of-mouth is one the best forms of advertising. So who better than a marketing director to have as a docent giving tours at the Homestead? Judy Vroman, a proud ambassador since 2000, spent 14 years handling advertising and promotions in the shopping center industry. In addition to giving over 1,700 hours to the museum, Judy has taught computer classes for the Hacienda La Puente Unified School District’s Adult Education program; is a doting grandmother; loves to cook, sew, and garden; and has traveled the world with her husband, Larry. In this Staff Spotlight, Judy shares her interests and experiences during her time at the museum.
How did you discover the Homestead Museum and what made you want to volunteer here?
I’d driven by the Homestead many times, but never stopped to investigate. One day I read an article in the newspaper saying they were looking for docents. I was in-between jobs and interested in local history, so learning to become a docent sparked my interest.
In addition to giving tours, you work with the museum’s Collections Care group. Has spending time up close with the collection impacted or influenced your tours? If so, how?
Though not quite as old as the cache found in King Tut’s tomb, the Homestead Museum has such a treasure trove of interesting historical items. I use the objects on display to help add a personal touch to my tours. When you’ve held that dress, that photo, or a magazine from another era, it’s holding a little bit of yesterday. I love to share that on my tour. The real fun for me comes when we put the items back into storage. When we’re not pressed for time, it’s fun to read the magazine articles and check out the fancy work on the dresses and clothing.
When you’re not volunteering at the Homestead, what other activities do you enjoy?
Church activities keep me very busy. I have played in the church bell choir for 35 years. Some years ago, our bell choir went to Hawaii to a bell conference—about 1,000 bell ringers attended! It was a fantastic experience. A couple more of my hobbies are gardening and sewing. In fact, I’ve started quilting now and belong to the Friendship Square Quilt Guild. The guild gives to the community in so many ways. Since 2008, we have delivered over 600 quilts to wounded military men and women. We also donate “Komfort Kids Quilts” to youngsters going through tough times. And I’m also getting ready for a quilt show coming up in March. My husband Larry and I also do things together. We have recently joined the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Cal State Fullerton. They offer classes and activities for seniors. At Mt. San Antonio College, we participate in balance and fitness classes for seniors. I’m also learning to play classical guitar and ukulele.
If someone asked you why history matters (and maybe they have!), what would you say?
I think you can better understand today if you learn about yesterday. It seems that history is always repeating itself.