Deidre Calloway volunteers full time as a conservation archivist at the JBLM Lewis Army Museum.

JOINT BASE LEWIS-McCHORD, Wash. -- Throughout her school years, Deidre Calloway never thought she would want to work for the military. After volunteering for the Joint Base Lewis-McChord Lewis Museum, however, Calloway's plans have changed.

"I would love to work for a military museum," Calloway said.

Calloway, a volunteer with the museum who specializes in conservation and archiving, is the May volunteer of the month. The museum is scheduled to reopen in late 2011.

"I get to see things that I never would have gotten to see," Calloway said. "It's kind of a time capsule that I'm getting to step back into. It's nice to think about the stuff that we put in the museum. People enjoy it."

Each volunteer organization submits the name of a worthy volunteer at the quarterly volunteer action council meeting, where the winner is chosen by random drawing.

"The main focus is just to recognize volunteers," Parker said. "It's just a successful way to highlight a volunteer each month."

Calloway works as a conservationist and archivist for the museum. She said she cleans, stores, repairs, organizes and archives photo negatives and glass negatives.

Calloway, who has volunteered with the museum for a little less than a year, has amassed nearly 500 hours of service. She also volunteers at Fort Nisqually.

"It's just something I enjoy," Calloway said. "You meet nice people. I was new here, and the Army's made me family."

A friend stationed at JBLM told Calloway about the opportunity.

"It's a job," Calloway said. "I've been overseas for so long that I figured it was time to do something for my own country."

Prior to volunteering, Calloway interned and worked in Greece.

Her interest in conservation was sparked on an archeology dig when she was handed a milk crate with broken pottery and attempted to put the pieces together. It was challenging, but she loved it.
"It's my little bit of touching history and saving it for later generations," Calloway said. "I found out I was good at it. Most people find it mind-numbing, the tedious work of it, but I find it kind of soothing."

This experience made Calloway rethink her area of focus as an undergrad. Instead of archeology, Calloway switched to conservation at Iowa State University. She is earning her master's from Cardiff University in Wales.

One of Calloway's supervisors, Myles Grant, said she is a tremendous asset to the museum staff.
"She cares so passionately about what she does," Grant said. "She loves museum-type work."
Her job performance, dedication and technical proficiency are all reasons that Grant thinks the committee selected Calloway.

"Her conservation techniques are a tremendous asset because of the experience she brought with her from Greece," Grant said.

In her spare time, Calloway enjoys being outdoors, hiking, playing with her dog, reading and learning how to knit.

"I'm hoping that eventually my work will go into a museum for people to see," Calloway said.

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16