Creating advocates for history through the stories of greater Los Angeles.
by Steven Dugan
This month’s Volunteer Spotlight is bittersweet, as we are saying goodbye to John Hasha, a Homestead administrative volunteer since 2002 who recently relocated to the Fontana/Banning area. Since joining the volunteer staff, John accumulated 275 hours of service. Around the time of every festival weekend, we could always count on John to help us with the glamorous tasks of set-up and clean-up, while also working at the festivals, usually as a greeter. John’s love of history and service takes many forms. He has volunteered at the Pasadena City Library; was an active researcher with a local chapter of the Sons of the Confederacy; is a long-time member of the Knights of Columbus; and most recently, he volunteered at the Huntington Library in San Marino. John is also an avid genealogist, tracing his family back to tenth-century-England in the province of Somerset. While we are sad to see him go, we wish him and his wife, Edith, all the best as they begin a new adventure. Thank you, John, for a wonderful 15 years of service to the museum.
How did you find the Homestead, and what made you want to volunteer here?
We moved in with my in-laws in Hacienda Heights after our wedding in 1996 and took day trips in our free time and discovered the Homestead. One day we took a tour of the museum and were impressed with the activities offered. I was taking library science classes at Cal State Fullerton through San Jose State University School of Library Science in early 2002 when an e-mail sent by an employee mentioned there was a volunteer program at the Homestead and that they were always looking for more volunteers. With my love of history, I decided to give the Homestead a try and became a volunteer in June of 2002.
Did you have any favorite events while you were a volunteer?
My favorite activity was setting up and taking down equipment for major events like the Victorian Fair, Ticket to the Twenties, etc. I liked that because I amazed myself on how much I could accomplish in one day.
What did you enjoy most about volunteering at the museum?
What I will miss most about the Homestead Museum is attending major events that cover different historical events like the ’20s. I learned a lot from those events. I also liked meeting other volunteers with similar interests in history and interacting with visitors at events. Once I had an interesting conversation with a man who came up to me and we began talking about different historical topics. I satisfactorily answered all his questions. I amazed myself that I did, but I do have a BA in History from Cal State Los Angeles!
What are some of your future plans after your big move? Do you plan on finding another site where you can volunteer?
My future plans after we move are to find a museum similar to the Homestead where I can volunteer in the Banning-Palm Springs area; keep up my favorite hobby of genealogy; and maybe pursue teaching history or genealogy at a local college.