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Photo Courtesy of NPS
Hopewell Furnace is a National Historic Site operated by the National Park Service as one of the finest examples of a restored charcoal-burning cold blast iron furnace and its surrounding community. Such "iron plantations" played a crucial role in the development of southeastern Pennsylvania and laid the foundations for the industrial development of the United States. Hopewell Furnace operated from 1771 until 1883, spanning several generations of our country's development, from its infancy in the colonial period to the creation of the steel and railroad industries of the 19th century.
AREA: Located in southeastern Pennsylvania in a rural area close to Pennsylvania Dutch Country, but only 15 miles from Reading and 45 miles west of Philadelphia. Hopewell Furnace is bordered by French Creek State Park, Crow's Nest Preserve (operated by Natural Lands), and State Game Lands #43.
DUTIES: Duties include orienting visitors to the park, conducting gift shop sales, giving introductory talks, operating the park’s orientation program, and answering questions from visitors. Visitor Services Volunteers have also participated in our living history programs, which feature demmonstrations of molding & casting, charcoal making, blacksmithing, farming, cooking, baking, sewing, spinning, knitting, and weaving.
In the fall and the spring Hopewell Furnace is active with guided tours and participatory education programs for area school children. Depending on their timing and experience, Visitor Services Volunteers may also participate in these education programs.
SKILLS: Knowledge, Skills & Abilities - Knowledge, Skills & Abilities in the areas of Cultural Resources and Historical Interpretation are helpful, but not required. All volunteers must show a willingness to work and get along with a wide variety of co-workers and visitors. A genuine desire to ensure that each visitor has an enjoyable experience at Hopewell Furnace is essential. Volunteers must be flexible enough to handle variations in work routine caused by shifting priorities and visitor needs.
COMPENSATION: No financial compensation. A great opportunity to learn through on-the-job experience about the daily operations of a National Park.