The Kern River Valley Historical Society has been in operation for over 40 years. Our mission is to preserve and communicate the rich and colorful history of this region. To achieve these goals we have established the Kern Valley Museum in downtown Kernville next to the Post Office.
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Being a Docent is Great Fun!

About 18 months ago I volunteered...

to docent at the Kern River Valley Historical Society’s Museum.

Did I volunteer because I’m a knowledgable local historian? Well, no. I had only a limited view of local history.

Did I volunteer because I wanted to become an expert on local history? No, I’m interested in lots of things, but never expect to be an EXPERT in anything. By nature, I’m more of a generalist than a specialist.

Did I volunteer because I didn’t have anything to do? No, it seems like my to-do list keeps getting longer, not shorter no matter how busy I am.

Did I volunteer to be a docent because I’m an outgoing, social butterfly? No, I’m the shy introverted type.

The reason I volunteered is simple. I became a docent because my father was a docent for many years and always told me how much fun it was and how many interesting people he met.

When I volunteered, I was somewhat nervous at meeting new people and being asked questions I couldn’t answer. But the Museum provided training so that I knew some of the basic information about the Museum’s exhibits. But my first surprise was that almost half of the questions that I was asked were for directions: where is a grocery store, drug store, ATM, etc. I can give directions to restaurants, groceries stores, hiking trails, parks, etc. I can give visitors a Visitor’s Guide, Dining Guide, Forest Service literature and/or maps. What a relief, I can be of help right off the bat! So now it’s down to answering the other 50% of questions.

The other Docents shared their various strategies….. 1. Follow the other, more knowledgeable docents around and listen to their answers. This really was a great idea.

2. Learn one story about each room in the museum. Boy this was a great way to learn local historical stories. Again, I just follow the ‘seasoned’ docents around to listen. Want to know how the Big Blue Mine was discovered? I’ve got the story down pretty well now.

3. Volunteer to fill-in Docent so you can work with different Docents. This increased my exposure to other ‘Oldtime’ docents so I could pick up even more great local stories.

Now I know the story of why the stagecoach scene in the Movie Stage Coach with John Wayne almost got cancelled.

Do you know how the saying “I’ll be there will bells on!” started? I found out, just listening to other Docents. Now I have stories I can tell visitors about most of the exhibits.

You know, as usual, my Dad was right. Being a Docent is fun. Then there are the interesting people you meet. But those stories are for another day.

Editor’s note: We are in serious need of docents. They are the life blood of the museum. Without docents we would not be able to open our doors. We hope you will consider becoming a docent. It truly is a lot of fun and isn’t difficult at all!


—Eddi Looy



49 Big Blue Road
PO Box 651
Kernville, CA 93238
(760) 376-6683
10 am - 4 pm
Thursday - Sunday

Admission is Free

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New Year's Day, Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas.

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