On any given day, USS LEXINGTON volunteers can be seen in their distinctive yellow shirts lending support to visitors and crew alike in many areas of the ship.
The visitor’s first contact with the ship is often the volunteer who drives the cart that provides courtesy rides leading to and from the Museum entrance. During the ride up the 1100-foot pier, the volunteer is eager to welcome the visitor and to share his/her knowledge of the ship, both as a Navy vessel and as a museum.
Once aboard, visitors rely on volunteers to point the way to different areas of the ship and to provide information about the history and operation of the aircraft carrier. To ensure information is accurate, each volunteer attends several hours of training before conducting guided tours or standing watch in exhibit areas. Training sessions are conducted by volunteers.
An important part of LEXINGTON’S mission is education, and programs have been developed for students of all ages. These valuable programs rely heavily on LEXINGTON volunteers who assist the staff in presenting the material. A background in education is not necessary as training is provided and all material is unique to each program.
Exhibits make the ship a museum, and without volunteers, there would be fewer exhibits. While the curatorial department is responsible for historical accuracy, the acquisition of artifacts and memorabilia, and overseeing development of each exhibit, the volunteers assist in every facet of the project. They devote countless hours of expertise and immeasurable talent to the development of exhibits, from cataloguing small items and creating works of art that depict life aboard the carrier to restoring gun placements and vintage aircraft.
LEXINGTON is a unique venue for special events. Ideal for military ceremonies and veteran reunions, the ship also hosts dances, banquets, concerts, meetings, weddings, receptions and numerous other private events, all of which require the assistance of volunteers.
Nearly 20,000 youth and their sponsors participate in the ship’s Live Aboard Overnight youth program each year. Thanks to long hours of hard work, mostly on weekends, by a corps of dedicated volunteers who assist the staff, this important program continues to grow.
In addition to the above, volunteers assist with clerical duties, conduct guided tours, answer phones and lend a hand with preparation of the Museum’s annual fundraiser – Stage Door Canteen held each February to commemorate the anniversary of the ship’s commissioning on February 17, 1943 and the Pearl Harbor Day Memorial Service.
But it’s not all work for LEXINGTON volunteers. They enjoy the camaraderie of monthly meetings. The ship honors them with an annual banquet to express sincere appreciation for their valuable contribution throughout the year.