Jean Kilheffer Hess

As a kid Lynette (Leaman) Brenneman sometimes joined her grandmother, Ethel (Herr) Landis, during her weekly volunteer stint at the 1719 Herr House. Ethel loved meeting new people and answering visitors’ questions about early Mennonite newcomers to Lancaster.

Ethel (Herr) Landis

When her grandmother died, Lynette, just 16, honored Ethel’s life and her passion for people by stepping into the volunteer role and guiding tours. As summer vacation wound down, Lynette’s mother, Carol Leaman, decided to fill the slot while Lynette returned to classes.

These days one of Lynette’s young daughters sometimes joins her as she guides visitors through the Herr House and the Native American Longhouse. Carol continues as a tour guide too – one that’s received shout-outs on social media for her excellent tours!

Lynette remains inspired by her grandmother, Carol fondly remembers a ninth-grade school project she did on the Herr House when she volunteers, and the girls say it’s just plain fun to be there.  That’s four generations of caring connection and warm storytelling. What a gift.

I could tell you about other volunteers like Carol, whose research masterpiece will update the count of Anabaptists and groups, Edith, who is an important link in properly cataloging donated items, Romaine, who seems to be able to do just about anything we ask, and Ivan, who expertly staffs our library and provides research services on a weekly basis. Our volunteers make it possible for Lancaster Mennonite Historical Society to impact the world in so many wonderful ways.

We are actively seeking additional volunteers. Opportunities range from providing customer service in the Historical Society bookstore to helping with special events or tour guiding at the 1719 Herr House & Museum. You might enjoy data work or assisting with mailings, doing fall clean up on the grounds or painting and basic property maintenance. Maybe you’d get excited about digitizing a document collection to make it accessible online? Reach out to Michael Bodner at at 717-393-9745 to apply as a volunteer. We’re looking forward to meeting you!