Confessions of a Workaholic: A Love Story

It’s mid-afternoon on a Tuesday and I am sitting on a beach in the Outer Banks, supposedly relaxing. The backstory to getting here is that I realized this was my last chance for a getaway before the madness of our fall season sets in at the museum, so I made the decision to visit a beach house my grandmother rented for the week with my mother, sans the husband and kiddo.  Well, the best laid plans…

There was a tropical storm. My mom was stung by a bee. My beach chair broke. A wave attempted to take my mom’s shoe out to sea. I got sick off of She-Crab soup.

Let’s just say it wasn’t the vacation I had planned to have to help me wind down a bit.

But let’s be honest here, does a Historic House Museum Director ever really wind down? The truth is, I am always working. When I go to the grocery store, I pick up drinks and snacks for my docents. When I head off to Target, I buy trash bags and light bulbs. I grab toilet paper and paper towels at Sam’s Club. I go to bakeries and harass the owners about just how small they can make their sweets- can we have tea sized cakes, mini pies, eclairs the size of my pinky finger? When browsing the décor at Tuesday Morning, I end up with office organizers, display items for the gift shop, and specialty napkins for our teas and hand towels for the bathroom. I have hair epiphanies in the shower regarding special events- we should set the tables up this way, such-and-such would love classical guitar music, this-or-that intern would be great for readings at that program. I pass out business cards at every craft show, social event, and party. When I order books on Amazon, I throw in one or two good ones for the museum library. Honestly, this job is a part of me- in many ways, it’s who I am.

You, as a visitor, intern, or staff member, may only see me a few days each week- but rest assured that I am working. 40 hours? Pshh! There aren’t enough hours in the day for me to grow this museum into the integral part of the community I truly believe it is destined to be. Thank the heavens for my two part-time staffers, who squeeze full-time work into partial work weeks. They too have hair epiphanies and moments of brilliance at the grocery store. Don’t even get me started on how much I adore my interns and volunteers, who spend their free time with us and only requests bribes in the form of tea and sweets.  I guess you could say working for this museum is a labor of love, for all involved.

So, why am I writing this to you? Well, because we would like to invite you to labor in love with us. Working for this museum is so much more than work- it is forging friendships that extend past our garden gate; it is using talents you never realized you had to entertain strangers who become family; it is investing in something greater than yourself or your ambitions. Working for this museum is working for the good of our community. And right now, in the midst of everything this country is going through, wouldn’t you like to be a part of something as positive as that?

Come. Join us. Make a difference. I will have a hot pot of tea and sweets waiting for you.


If you would like more information regarding volunteering or interning for the museum, please contact Museum Director Jackie Spainhour or Asst. Directors Kelly Kubiak and Ella Swain at 623-9814. Not a phone person? Email us at