Carl Parkinson (far left) leading a field trip group from Sage Park Middle School in 2014.

One of our dear volunteers, Carlton Parkinson, passed away two weeks ago. We’ll miss him tremendously at Windsor Historical Society. He inspired hundreds of school children to understand and to care a little more about the place they live in. Whether you were nine or ninety, Carl made you feel that it gave him pleasure to be in your company, to share a bit of the history he loved with you.

Back in 2010, educator Julia Baldini interviewed Carl for a volunteer profile in our newsletter. We’re re-publishing it here now in his memory. We feel lucky to have known him.

When did you start volunteering at the Society?
I began volunteering in June 2009 in response to an ad for docent training in the Weekly Reminder. I wanted to expand my knowledge as it pertains to Windsor history.

What types of programs/events have you volunteered for?
Along with serving as a docent (providing guided tours) I also participate in various museum education programs (day programs on Colonial Life), Native American research, as well as administrative front desk duties.

What do you like most about volunteering at WHS?
I enjoy the collaboration between staff, volunteers, and the community and teaching others through non-formal education. Volunteering affords me the opportunity to apply both formal and informal teaching skills. Some of the students I have taken on
tours I see at the public library. We get to talking and we have the opportunity to chat about what they have learned. For example, the Strong-Howard House, herb garden, and living in colonial time. It’s great to know they’ve kept the knowledge they have gained in the trunks of their minds!

Carl Parkinson in the WHS research library, 2010.

What is your connection to Windsor History?
Well, my father came over from Jamaica during the West Indian migration and worked in a tobacco camp in Windsor as a cook. He received a diploma from the Pennsylvania Culinary Institute and became food service manager at the camp. There he met my mother who was a camp nurse. As a youth I spent many summers working in tobacco. It was arduous, labor-intensive work and I can appreciate those who toiled in the industry.

Who were your influences on the subject of history?
Dr. Samuel Goldberger, a history professor at Capital Community Technical College, and Dr. Jai Smith both encouraged me to tutor history at the college.

Do you have any professional training in history?
I have taken history courses and participated in oral history and public history service learning projects as well as cultural resource development.

Do you have any advice for someone interested in volunteering but might be nervous about getting started?
Volunteering at WHS can be a very rewarding experience. I would encourage those who are interested in self-enrichment or have a desire to make history useful to their community by connecting with the past to go to the WHS website, take a tour, and/or attend a WHS function.


You can hear Carl’s own voice as he talks about his life and his parents in Windsor by listening to excerpts from his oral history here.