BELPRE - A Belpre teenager is using her love of history to help others at the Belpre Historical Society's Farmers' Castle Museum.
Alana DeLancey, 14, began volunteering at the museum when she was 10 years old and that work has helped her nurture a love of history.
"I have always loved history and when I was in fifth grade and we came to the museum, I decided I wanted to volunteer then," said the Belpre High School freshman. "I talked to Nancy Sams about it then and have been helping out ever since."
Photo by Jolene Craig
Alana DeLancey, 14, a freshman at Belpre High School, has spent the last four years working as a volunteer at the Belpre Historical Society’s Farmers’ Castle Museum with hopes to have a future career as a history teacher.
DeLancey's mom, Joyce DeLancey, said she was surprised when her 10-year-old daughter told her she wanted to volunteer at the museum.
"It's not every day your young child tells you they want to volunteer somewhere," she said. "So, Alana and her grandma, Sue Givens, started volunteering at the museum together."
Since then, Alana has spent two days every summer and Saturdays throughout the rest of the year, teaching people of all ages how to use the loom. She also helps with special programs the museum puts on, including the annual Heritage Day that takes place in October.
"The loom is my favorite thing to do in the museum," she said. "It is a cool thing to do like playing with an ancient toy and I get to show a lot of people one piece of history they might not know about."
Alana said she first became interested in the museum and the history of the Belpre area when her third-grade class studied local history and spent time at the 509 Ridge St. facility.
"By the time my fifth grade TAG (talented and gifted) English class came to the museum, I knew I loved history and wanted to spend more time in it," she said.
With that class four years ago, the students also had to write a short story book to be sold at the museum. Alana's story "Bathsheba Rouse, a Teacher and Friend," about the first teacher in the Northwest Territory, is still available in the museum.
"I learned a lot about Bathsheba Rouse and really like her history and that of the old fort in Belpre," Alana said. "I would love to look into that more."
Sams, president of the historical society, said she is happy to have Alana as a volunteer and likes that it shows the community the youth does care.
"Her being here proves that the younger generations are willing to learn and help," Sams said. "I hope we have her here for a long time."
Alana said she has no plans to ever walk away from the museum.
"I hope to be a history teacher in Belpre when I'm older," she said. "This volunteer work is the start of my future career and I will stay here as long as possible.
"I might run this museum someday," Alana added. "I will never give it up."