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Here for our Community: Jessica Chase

February 16, 2021

Every day hundreds of people work behind the scenes to keep Prince Edward County running. We are profiling a few of the people that are ‘here for our community.’

We continue the series by talking with Jessica Chase, Assistant Curator of The County Museums. You can visit the Museums virtually during Flashback February, taking place February 15-20, 2021.

Jessica Chase holds an artefact wearing white gloves inside the Macaulay Church museum.
“Though I love the face-to-face stuff and doing tours… I do love the research as well.”

Can you start by giving an overview of your job?

It’s varied, I will say that. As Assistant Curator, I do curate things: creating exhibits and programs and looking after a collection. As someone with a museum background, I view that as the crucial part of my job. But being part of The County means wearing different hats. I also do a bit of grant writing and I do a lot of marketing and promotion for our sites. I run the social media accounts for us, and in the summer, I am a tourism ambassador at the Wellington Museum.

That’s a really fun opportunity to interact with tourists. Sometimes they are coming into the museum for info and maybe had no plans for stepping foot into a museum during their time here in Prince Edward County. Once they are in there, yes, I’m going to give them tourism information, but I’m also going to encourage them to learn a little about the history of the place while they’re here.

How long have you worked with The County?

I have been with The County since April 2016 so it’s coming up on five years.

What do you like most about the job and working for The County?

Even though I love the face-to-face stuff and doing tours, like leading the Graveyard and Gallows tour in the summer, I do love the research as well. We answer a lot of research inquiries here at the Museums; we dive into our reference files or rummage through the collection and find items that people are looking for. Maybe their ancestors donated them or it’s in support of a project that they are working on. I think the research inquiries are my secret favourite thing about my job.

Image of Jessica leaning on the fence at Macaulay Heritage park on a sunny winter day. A historic church and graveyard in the background.
“I’m constantly being wowed by the places I haven’t yet visited… There’s never a shortage of things to do and people to meet. “

How has COVID-19 impacted your work?

From the beginning, we knew that we weren’t going to have a traditional season. Out of five Museum sites, we were only able to open two in 2020, and they opened late, in the middle of the summer. We were still able to offer tours as we normally would, but in terms of the programming that really gets people up close and personal with our sites, that had to be transitioned to mostly virtual programs. We didn’t host summer camps as we traditionally would on site, but we offered activity kits which were a big hit. We also transitioned to virtual education programs: instead of having school groups, seniors groups and bus tours come to us on site we started offering virtual tours. I was pleasantly surprised at how we were able to transition to virtual pretty easily. We relied on social media more than we ever did before because that was the only way we had to reach out and engage with our community. We made the best of it.

What do you enjoy most about The County?

I love living in a fairly rural place. I certainly have been so thankful for that during this whole pandemic experience as well. I think people look at it as both a blessing and a curse that you know everyone that lives in your community, but I’ve met so many good friends since moving here and there is a camaraderie among the people of The County. Just like it ensnares tourists and brings them here, as a local I’m constantly being wowed by the places I haven’t yet visited, the people I haven’t yet met, the food I haven’t yet tried. There’s never a shortage of things to do and people to meet.

 

Click to read all of the Here for our Community Profiles.

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Here for our Community: Jessica Chase