This post is part of our Remember When Volunteers Series. Museum volunteers share stories of the Museum and amusement. This week’s volunteer is Druscilla “Dru” Lis. Dru enjoys carousels, geocaching and being a Grammy to Grandson Kellan. She began volunteering with the museum September 2019.
Why did you begin volunteering?
Long story! Although I grew up in North Tonawanda, I have moved away and come back several times over the decades. I certainly have fond memories of this place at different stages of my life. Wonderful memories of my mother telling me about the kids in her day and age watching the carvers at the corner window of the other facility that was down on Oliver Street. I knew once I was back in NT as my forever home, the first place I wanted to volunteer was at the Carrousel! I was very fortunate to be able to start in 2019 and really help with the STEM program! What wonderful groups of fourth graders were able to come through during those months of winter!!! Hey did you know it is cold in the carving room in January? LOL!
Favorite Carrousel Museum Experience
Well for me personally, my favorite experience here was being able to rent the Carrousel and share it with over 80 of my fellow geocachers of Western New York! We had the best time riding around the carrousels as a leap year event on February 29th, 2020!! If you do not know what a geocacher is, just ask me and I will be happy to explain it to you!
Favorite Exhibit in the Museum
Besides enjoying every one of the different pieces in the museum, I always point out the Native American pony when I am talking with a group of visitors. I believe it to be a very clever adaptation of a non-typical carrousel horse.
Favorite fun fact about amusement
My personal fun fact is that I was able to ride on the roller coaster in Kiddieland that we have a portion of in the hallway. I like to tell visitors that the little girl in the back of the picture on the wall is me! Fun fact...but probably not true, LOL!
Why should people come to the museum?
People should be excited about coming to this museum in order to keep this piece of history alive. We are so fortunate to have this original structure still standing with so much important memorabilia included within its walls. The fact that so many lumber mills were set up in North Tonawanda added to the reason to be making wooden carrousel animals here! Historical preservation is so important for future generations and this is a fun example of that.
What is a favorite memory of an amusement park or carousel?
My favorite memory is actually five amusement parks rolled into one. I have been very fortunate to have ridden on an Allen Herschell Carrousel not only in North Tonawanda, but also in Raleigh, North Carolina; North Pole, Colorado; Spokane, Washington and San Diego, California!