Making history come alive | NevadaAppeal.com

Making history come alive

Jarid Shipley
Appeal Staff Writer
Chad Lundquist/Nevada Appeal Jack Gibson, 85, talks about the history contained in the Nevada State Museum on Sunday. Gibson has been a volunteer tour guide for last 23 years.
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When it comes to the history contained in the Nevada State Museum, Jack Gibson knows it inside and out. After all, at 85 years old, he’s lived a good portion of it.

For the last 23 years Gibson has served as a volunteer tour guide, weaving tales from the past and bringing enlightenment to the people and items that have brought Nevada to where it is today.

He starts each day with a routine, he gets up and eats breakfast then heads to the Nevada State Museum to see if there is new copy for the newsletter – which he edits – or if his services as a tour guide are needed.

Once his duties there are done, Gibson wanders over to the Northern Nevada Railroad Museum where he also volunteers. Gibson said that apart from his love of history, he has a more important reason for volunteering.

“I’m retired. I got nothing else to do so I like to think these two museums have kept me alive and given me a reason to get out of bed in the morning,” Gibson said.

Walking through the various permanent exhibits, Gibson diligently stops at important sections and points visitors to interesting artifacts. Items like an Oregon Boot, designed to keep convicts from getting away while working outside.

Yet occasionally, he slows near items and turns his eyes skyward, searching the annals of his mind for a story he knows is there – recollections about previous tours and memorable moments during his tenure at the museum.

“There is no real common tour. I like doing the Nevada History Gallery because it’s laid out as day one in Nevada through when you leave it, it’s today,” Gibson said.

Now, Gibson wants to share the experience and knowledge he has acquired with others who share his love of history by teaching them to be tour guides.

Curator of Education Deborah Stevenson said, “Being a volunteer tour guide is a fun way to give something back to the community. Working as a tour guide is a great way to meet interesting people and to learn more about Nevada.”

The museum is holding a volunteer tour guide training Jan. 23-26 at the museum. Anyone interested in becoming a tour guide is asked to reserve a spot in the training by calling 687-4810 ext. 237 by Jan. 20.

“It doesn’t take long to become a tour guide. I can have you working in under a week,” Gibson said.

After more than 20 years, it only seemed appropriate to make the man who loves the museum a part of it. His wedding photo – taken on the day he married his wife of more than 60 years – is now enshrined as part of the permanent exhibit he still gives tours through.

“I’ll keep doing it until I drop dead, then I don’t think I can do it anymore,” Gibson said with a smile.

— Contact reporter Jarid Shipley at jshipley@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1217.

Become a volunteer tour guide

The museum is holding a volunteer tour guide training Jan. 23-26 at the museum. Anyone interested in becoming a tour guide is asked to reserve a spot in the training by calling 687-4810 ext. 237 by Jan. 20.