Creating advocates for history through the stories of greater Los Angeles.
by Steven Dugan
The Homestead’s volunteer staff is made up of a variety of people with an array of interests and skills. This month’s Staff Spotlight focuses on Wes Maury, an administrative volunteer since 2000.
Wes grew up in Pocatello, Idaho. His first job was picking potatoes (in 40 lb. bags) for a whopping 3 cents per bag when he was in eighth grade; good money at that time. He moved to California after high school and worked for a trucking company (getting paid $1.19 per half hour) before being drafted into the Army, spending two years in Germany. The GI Bill allowed Wes to obtain an Associate of Science degree in transportation, which afforded him a long career in transportation and engineering. In-between all of this he married his wife, Mary Lou, also a Homestead volunteer, and raised his family in Hacienda Heights, retiring in 2008. Here is what Wes had to share about his experiences at the museum and interest in history.
You and your wife, Mary Lou, are among a small number of couples who volunteer together. She started in 1992, and you came on board in 2000. What inspired you to join her?
I first got interested in the Homestead after my wife Mary Lou became a volunteer. I began joining her on field trips and attending other functions. I joined the volunteer staff 17 years ago and it only seems like 5 or 6 years.
I have always enjoyed history and been interested in how early pioneers (like William Workman and John Rowland) settled the West, the hardships they might have encountered, and how they formed the country.
We know you love history! Why do you think history is something more people should care about?
History cannot be taught completely through books; it must be shown and explained by people who have the knowledge and love of what they are doing. Places like the Homestead keep history alive by sharing what the early settlers did and how their foresight made California and the nation what they are today.
When you’re not giving your time at the museum, where else will we find you?
When I am not volunteering at the museum I spend most of my time at home puttering around, or playing golf. I volunteer a couple of days a week at a local food pantry and I’ve been a member of the Whittier Elks Lodge for 56 years. I have a loving wife, daughter, and grandson, who just graduated from UC San Diego with a degree in Nano Engineering [the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree!].
What do you like to share about the museum with others?
I’m always encouraging friends and family to visit the Homestead. I always try to have something to tell them about the museum, as well as keep them up-to-date with our events.