by Steven Dugan
Mitzy Nigh is the epitome of a “people person.” She can talk to anyone about anything. Whether working in a bank, a pharmaceutical company, or for the government; or living in other parts of the world that required her to learn another language, she has embraced opportunities to learn about other people and cultures. Mitzy joined the Homestead staff as a volunteer in 1989 and was a docent for over 20 years. Today, she helps the paid staff by volunteering at a number of special events and is often called up on to assist in conducting visitor surveys. We are so grateful for her commitment, service, and positive spirit.
1. You are one of the Homestead’s biggest champions! What makes this place so special in your eyes?
The Homestead Museum is special to me because I love history and the museum tours, special events, and volunteer opportunities. The museum gives many people a means of learning family history in an enjoyable way, as well as the 100-year slice of history of California, the U.S., and the world.
2. What made you decide to become a volunteer?
I have always loved learning and, after a few visits to the Homestead Museum, I recognized this was a place where I could not only acquire knowledge; but meet people and make friends who had the same interests.
3. You’ve helped in so many capacities over the years at the Homestead. What are some of your favorite things to do, and why?
I loved giving tours and answering questions about the museum, as many times visitors (some who had personal history with the museum) shared their own stories. Being at the information table during events and doing surveys lets me mingle with many people and gives me the opportunity to share the “joys” of the museum.
4. When you’re not giving your time at the Homestead, what are some of your other hobbies?
When I’m not at work conducting surveys as a Field Representative with the U.S. Department of Commerce, I love reading history and historical novels (I am a “Friend” of the local library), as well as attending plays and other social events. I also enjoy going to movies, gardening, armchair travelling, attending local presentations and classes with topics about health and the community. I especially enjoy presentations by “The History Lady” from San Diego (local historian and speaker in San Diego). She always brings many artifacts that relate to the time period and topics she discusses.
5. When you interact with visitors, what do you hope they take away from their visit?
When I interact with visitors, hopefully I impart how interesting it is to learn about history with their museum experiences, and what a gem it is to be aware of this local museum so they can share their “find” with friends, family, and community.
6. Why is history important to you?
As I mentioned previously, I have always loved history and geography. I truly believe in the adage, “How to do you know where you’re going if you don’t know where you’ve been?” History helps me understand the present; for history is ongoing. We are making history every day.