VOLUNTEER spotlight

The Elliott Museum and the House of Refuge are blessed with a legion of vibrant and gifted volunteers from across the country who bring their own rich histories from all walks of life. The common thread among them is their shared passion for our museums, and their enthusiasm to make your visitor experience the best that it can be.

March 2024

Deborah Marko

What did you do for a living in your career life?

For 37 years I taught in the School District of Lancaster, mainly 4th and 5th grade. Since I was in the same school for 35 years, I was able to watch children grow up and start families of their own. A friend once told me that when you have grandchildren of children you taught, it is time to go. The grandchildren were in second grade, so it was time to retire. For the next six years I worked with my husband at his marina. We both loved boating.

What are your special interests/passions?

Passions. I love people, history, reading, the sea, and traveling. As I am writing this, I am aboard the ORION off the coast of New Zealand.

What is something that would surprise us about you?

Riding with my husband on his Harley Davidson motorcycle, we completed the Four Corners Ride in 21 days, 10,336 miles. We rode in all 48 states and many Canadien provinces. In the summer I spend many days out on the Chesapeake Bay aboard my 15 foot boat, TEACHERS PET.

What’s your favorite thing about volunteering at the HSMC?

The people I meet at the House of Refuge are so interesting and friendly. Many have no idea how close WWII came to the state of Florida. When I drive over the bridge I say a prayer, so thankful that I have the opportunity to be a docent at the House of Refuge and share what I have learned.
Also, Michael is a great guy, what a “boss.”

February 2024

Vicki Zambardino

What did you do for a living in your career life?

During my career, I was an advocate for people with disabilities for over 30 years and worked for the New York State Commission on Quality of Care as the NYC Coordinator of services. I was proud to have played a part in landmark changes like de-institutionalization, curb cuts, bus accessibility on transit buses, compensatory education for those who had been denied education services and mainstream education.

What are your special interests/passions?

Since coming to Florida in 2004, Peter and I have been very active at St Luke’s Episcopal Church in Stuart where we are on several committees and serve several ministries. Some of our outreach programs like our backpack giveaway are very near and dear to us.

What is something that would surprise us about you?

I like flowers and gardening and have a special love of orchids which of course didn’t grow wild in New York City where I was born and raised.

What’s your favorite thing about volunteering at the HSMC?

My favorite thing about HSMC is learning new things which I did not necessarily have an interest in before. So, of course, my favorite part of the museum is the changing gallery. The constantly changing of exhibits sparks new interest and new research.

January 2024

Dottie Graston

What did you do for a living in your career life?

I worked a total of forty-five years as a legal secretary in law offices, for a county court judge and lastly at Florida Power and Light for twenty-one of the forty-five years. While at FPL, I was Senior Executive Administrative Assistant (fancy name for secretary) to the CEO of the parent company for a period of time.

What are your special interests/passions?

I enjoy volunteering very much. Currently, I volunteer at Caring Fields Felines in Palm City, as well as The Elliott.

What is something that would surprise us about you?

Wish I could say I have some special talent, but sadly I do not. Have always lived a relatively simple life. For a number of years my late husband and I rode motorcycles and that was always fun. I loved working but retirement is pretty great also.

What’s your favorite thing about volunteering at the HSMC?

The museum itself is awesome but my favorite part is the people. The people who work and volunteer there are great and the visitors are very interesting to talk to.


Fill out our Volunteer application.

Scan and email to our Vice President of Guest Experience, Ales Day at [email protected]

Snail Mail to: Elliott Museum, Attn.  Ales Day at 825 NE Ocean Blvd., Stuart, FL 34996.

You may also drop it off at the Front Desk during regular business hours.

Call Ales Day for more information: at 772-225-1961 ext. 102.



The Elliott Museum relies on teams of volunteers to help us run our programs, providing customer service to supporting administrative tasks, working with specific audiences, facilitating art experiences, and more. Prospective volunteers should be passionate about art, history, and/or transportation and enjoy interacting with the public.

What is it to be a Volunteer at the Elliott Museum?

Volunteers go through orientation and training programs and may focus on a particular area of interest.

You may cross-train at the Elliott and House of Refuge Museums or work your hours at one of the facilities.

We need volunteers to:

  • Lead tours
  • Act as docents
  • Assist in the Museum Stores
  • Help with exhibits
  • Help with special events
  • Assist in the Auto Gallery
  • Help with a very wide variety of projects.


for other community projects

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