OUR OPINION: Docents preserve Mansion history through sharing

Name a group of volunteers who wear costumes not only on Halloween and treat Missourians to a wealth of historical knowledge throughout the year.

The correct answer is the docent program under the auspices of Missouri Mansion Preservation Inc. (MMPI), a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving the Missouri Governor’s Mansion.

Volunteer docents, who now number 48, conduct tours while recounting unique and colorful events connected with the mansion’s history and the first families who lived there. They wear period costumes identified with the mansion’s construction in 1871.

The only qualification to become a docent is an interest in history, according to Connie Hubble, an 18-year volunteer who handles public relations for the docent’s leadership team.

Newcomers receive training from the group’s education committee and from printed materials, she said, adding veteran docents also receive continuing education.

The time commitment varies, reaching its zenith in the spring when student groups visit from throughout the state.

Volunteers are recruited twice each year, with the next recruitment effort scheduled for February.

Hubble said anyone who is interested may contact Laura Bennett-Smith, executive director of MMPI, at lsmith@missourimansion.org.

We applaud the volunteers who devote their time and talents to this program.

The Missouri Governor’s Mansion is an architectural and historical gem, and the docents help polish and display its many facets for all Missourians to enjoy.

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