OAKLAND -- Camron-Stanford House, Oakland's Victorian landmark house museum on Lake Merritt, is looking for outgoing volunteers to become tour guides.

The museum is recruiting for its first training course in five years. The six-week, nine-session tour guide training program begins Sept. 8. The course is held at Camron-Stanford House. Most classes will take place from 7 to 9 p.m. Thursday evenings, with two to three sessions to be held on weekend mornings.

The program will explore local history and architecture, the decorative arts and domestic life of the Victorian era, and garden history with the museum's new Victorian garden. No previous guide experience is necessary, but curiosity and a desire to share what you've learned are essential.

Prospective guides need to be comfortable with stairs and being on their feet for up to an hour.

The house was built in 1876, and is not fully disabled accessible.

Tour guide trainees will learn everything needed to give tours of the Camron-Stanford House and garden to public, private and school groups. Tours of the house touch on a number of subjects: local history, architecture and interior design, 19th century decorative arts and furnishings, life in the Victorian era, and the occupants and various lives of the house over the years, including its transformation from private home to public museum, and its extensive restoration and evolution into a house museum.


Advertisement

Trainees will learn from experts. Speakers include noted local historian Dennis Evanosky, well-known architectural historian Judith Lynch (Waldhorn), distinguished retired Oakland Museum history curators L. Thomas Frye and Inez Brooks-Myers, and others. Trainees will learn how to give a tour and will have plenty of opportunities to practice their tour presentation and public speaking skills. Training is supplemented by printed reading material and additional information in electronic form.

The cost to take the class is $40 for materials plus a $35, one-year membership in the museum, which comes with all the benefits of membership. To apply, please download the application form at www.cshouse.org, and complete and email it to Natasha Glushkoff at volunteer@cshouse.org or mail it to Camron-Stanford House Preservation Association, 1418 Lakeside Drive, Oakland, CA 94612. For further information, please call Natasha at 510-444-1876.

-- Jean Wieler, Camron-Stanford House