Our volunteers and interns help advance the Museum’s mission of inspiring human connections by exploring the human experience by performing a broad range of functions in a variety of departments, and they truly help enrich the visitor experience.
This month, we’re highlighting longtime volunteer Melanie Flynn! If she looks like a familiar face, you may have seen her greet guests at the Saint Francis Chapel as a Museum Ambassador, or you may have gone on a California Tower tour that she was helping to lead. You may also recognize her as the 2017 recipient of the Balboa Park Inspiration Award, which recognizes volunteers who go above and beyond expectations to make a positive difference in the community, for Balboa Park visitors, and at institutions in the Park.
Read on to learn more about Melanie and her involvement with the Museum.
Hi! Please tell us about yourself and tell us about your involvement with the Museum.
My name is Melanie Flynn, and I moved to San Diego about 35 years ago from Baltimore, Maryland. I love San Diego, and I’ve always been drawn to Balboa Park. I live in North County. When my kids were little, they would always go to the museums here, and whenever I had company visit, we’d go down and admire the California Tower, and just go to the Organ Pavilion, the International Cottages, and all of the different museums.
I’ve served as both a Tower Trekker and a Museum Ambassador.
How long have you been volunteering with us?
I’ve been volunteering [with the Museum of Man] for five years now.
What made you choose to volunteer at the Museum?
Five years ago, I heard that the California Tower was going to reopen to the public. I remember meeting with my sons and reading about it. I said: “I can’t believe the Tower is going to open—I can’t wait to climb it!” The next week, one of my sons sent me something his girlfriend found saying that the Museum needed volunteers, and I said, “I’m on it! Hopefully, they let me do it!”
The main reason I love taking people up in the Tower is that I love the view. I love the history. The view from the top is topped only by the diverse, educational exhibits in the Museum, the interesting guests that climb the Tower, and of course the professional, kind, and caring staff that makes up the Museum family.
What is your favorite exhibit?
I love the PostSecret exhibit. Every time you go through it, you learn something different. The exhibits team did a great job with the way the secrets are displayed—I love the record racks in particular and how the postcards accent them. The exhibit is a mix of sad, heartwarming, and funny.
How can someone start volunteering at the Museum?
Check out the Museum’s website and contact the Volunteer Program Specialist!