February 4, 2023

Join the Museum Squadron

Amy Caruso

Patuxent River Naval Air Museum
Off the Map

When deciding how to organize and build its volunteer corps, the Patuxent River Naval Air Museum decided there was no reason to re-invent the wheel.

Or wing.

Meet the Pax Museum Volunteer Squadron. It’s commanding officer? Amy Houle Caruso.

Amy is one of 15 Pax Museum Association board members, and she is head of the volunteer advisory committee, tasked with building what she calls a “comprehensive and robust volunteer organization” that will take the museum from a half-dozen regular volunteers to over 100, and beyond.

“We’re trying to emulate a Navy environment for the fun of it,” Caruso said squadron-based organizational structure of the volunteer corps. “The whole museum is run on volunteers. … We’re building the volunteer program for today’s museum as well as the future.”

Museum Association President Ed Foresman said, “Amy is the foundation of what we’re doing in the volunteer effort.”

Caruso said the museum is currently re-examining how it operates and how to create a welcoming environment for its volunteers. She said that the museum also recognizes the diversity of volunteers and that not all of them want to be tour guides and teachers. Her “squadron” model reflects that, having departments for history research, exhibit building, flight line maintenance and information technology, as well as docents.

Caruso said she is interested in recruiting stay-at-home spouses, retirees, college students, history lovers, skilled workers, artists and computer programmers to the squadron’s mix.

“We’re looking at the diversity of Southern Maryland community and we want to maximize use of it here at the Museum,” Caruso said.

Foresman agreed, saying, “Everybody has things they can do well.” He noted that volunteering need not be time-consuming either, saying, “The volunteer who comes here doesn’t have to come five days a week, unless they want to.”

Both Caruso and Foresman said volunteers will be trained in how the museum operates, and the museum will work to keep reasonable expectations on both sides of the equation.

“It’s fundamental to keep volunteers happy, interested and engaged,” Caruso said.

If you are interested in finding out more about the Patuxent River Naval Air Museum please visit our website at paxmuseum.com. Or contact us directly at [email protected] Better yet, stop by the Patuxent River Naval Air Museum and fill out the volunteer form while you are there.

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