Hart Square Names Volunteers of the Year

VALE, NC (January 8, 2024) ⇒ Hart Square Foundation is pleased to announce that Judy Sigmon and Sue Ward have been selected as our 2023 Volunteers of the Year. Hart Square Foundation provides a wide slate of programming, including Hart Square Village Open-Air Museum, Living History Events, Field Trips, Folkways Classes, Historic Foodways, and much more. This would not be possible without the support of 518 volunteers who collectively gave over 11,000 hours of their time to share the nation’s largest log cabin museum with 28,000 visitors from 25 states.

Rebecca Hart, Executive Director, says, “Our volunteers bring Hart Square Village to life, and we truly could not do what we do without them. It is an honor to recognize Judy Sigmon and Sue Ward for their longtime service to our organization, and to recognize Jaimie Beatty for excellence in historic preservation and Gail Boyles for excellence in traditional arts.”

Judy Sigmon has been volunteering at Hart Square for many years. In addition to serving as an instructor for folkways and field trip classes, Judy volunteers as a historic artisan at living history events. She is passionate about horticulture and created the Heritage Learning Garden, which has been a great asset to our youth educational programs. Most recently, Judy volunteered as a historic demonstrator at Christmas in the Village, where she assisted visitors in creating block printed Christmas cards.

Sue Ward is a longtime volunteer who gives her time in many capacities, from serving as a historic docent, to assisting with field trips, to support with office tasks. Sue most recently served as a field trip assistant during Hart Square Foundation’s December field trip programming. Sue helped by preparing craft class supplies, assisting with the wreath making class, and providing golf cart transportation when children were physically unable to walk into the historic village to tour the historic cabins.

Additionally, Jaimie Beatty was named as the first recipient of Hart Square’s Bob Hart Preservation Award, and Gail Boyles was honored as the first recipient of the Becky Hart Traditional Artist Award. These special awards recognize volunteers who are carrying forward the legacy of our founders and their vision to preserve and share Hart Square Village and traditional arts and trades with the next generation.

Hart Square volunteers gathered to celebrate “Old Christmas” on January 5th. This historical Appalachia tradition was marked with hot chocolate and sweet and savory snacks in gratitude for their service and in honor of our volunteer award recipients.

Hart Square Village is an open-air museum located in Vale, North Carolina, consisting of over 100 historic log structures built between 1760 and 1893. Hart Square Foundation is the non-profit organization tasked with instilling a pioneering spirit in the next generation through preserving and sharing the history and culture housed at Hart Square Village.