Tinker Swiss Cottage volunteer receives award

Staff Report

Gail Zahm, a volunteer at Rockford’s Tinker Swiss Cottage Museum, has been recognized as recipient of the Illinois Association of Museums (IAM) Silver Service Award.

The Illinois Association of Museums honors member institutions that have crossed anniversary milestones. The Silver Service Awards will be given to recognize volunteers with at least 25 years of faithful service at an institution. Zahm has volunteered at Tinker for more than 42 years.

Zahm began her volunteer career in the fall of 1972; she volunteered to take a shift in the parlor during a Junior League event in the cottage. Before the year was out, Zahm was the treasurer of the board. She would faithfully serve on the board throughout the next 25 years. She has continued to volunteer as a docent, guiding visitors on tours of the cottage and donating more than 4,000 volunteer hours.

When asked why she dedicated so much of her time to volunteer at Tinker, her answer was simple. As a teacher by vocation, she said: “Being a docent is like teaching. When I guide first-time visitors and tell them the story of the cottage and its part in the community history, they get excited. That is the reward, pure and simple.”

The Illinois Association of Museums will present the award during its annual Fall Conference in Rockford Oct. 22-24.  The presentation will be during the awards dinner Wednesday, Oct. 22.

Tinker Swiss Cottage Museum is at 411 Kent St., Rockford, and can be reached at (815) 964-2424 or online at tinkercottage.com.

Posted Oct. 22, 2014

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