For nearly 10 years, Minnesota History Center volunteer Ted Stamos has brought history alive for visitors of all ages.
Stamos has donated 3,300 volunteer hours during that time, but it’s not something he sees as work. It’s more like a labor of love: “It meets my desire to feel useful and valued in an organizational mission that will leave the world better than I found it, and that primarily benefits my fellow human beings as a result.”
Stamos, an Air Force veteran, spends his Saturdays inside the exhibit “Minnesota’s Greatest Generation.” He can be found engaging with guests in the multimedia program “This Must Be Hell,” where they experience the recreation of a true combat parachute jump from a C-47 plane flying over Normandy on D-Day, June 6, 1944.
As guests enter the exhibit, Stamos greets them and prepares them for the experience. Drawing on the latest D-Day research, and using stories of pilots and parachuters, he gives a detailed presentation to add a real-life connection to the multimedia program; his stories and reflections from days of service, from so many years ago, add a personal touch for visitors: These stories help guests understand the real horror and sacrifice of men and women during WWII, and the trauma and moral injury have lived with for the decades after returning home.
Stamos has become something of a local celebrity, at least for history buffs. And guests who stumble upon his Saturday presentation come away singing his praises. Danell from Champlin, for one, says, “Ted was simply put phenomenal! His taking the time to set the stage, to truly understand the implications and the cost to humanity, was truly inspiring. I speak for our entire group of veterans, his contributions were the best of our day.”
Stamos doesn’t confine his presentation to the walls of the Minnesota Historical Society, either: He also takes this presentation on the road, meeting with veterans at senior living homes, libraries, and veteran associations. He hopes that this work will provide some help for those suffering from the effects of war.
Stamos began volunteering in 2008 when the Minnesota History Center called for help in refurbishing the fuselage of C-47 plane and turning it into a theater piece for the new exhibit “Minnesota’s Greatest Generation.” This exhibit explores the Great Depression, WWII and the baby boom through Minnesota stories. A group of volunteers made up of Stamos and a group of veterans dismantled and then refurbished the fuselage of the plane.
Stamos also helped construct a Jenny airplane, the first type of plane aviator Charles Lindbergh owned, the plane currently hangs in the History Center. He also helped refurbish a Vietnam-era Huey helicopter for use in “The 1968 Exhibit,” which is currently on display. But welcoming guests to the C-47 program remains his passion. Visitors can engage with Ted on most Saturdays, including this Memorial Day weekend.
About the Minnesota Historical Society
“The Minnesota Historical Society is a nonprofit educational and cultural institution established in 1849. MNHS collects, preserves and tells the story of Minnesota’s past through museum exhibits, libraries and collections, historic sites, educational programs and book publishing. Using the power of history to transform lives, MNHS preserves our past, shares our state’s stories and connects people with history.”
Visit their website at mnhs.org.
Above information was found in this press release.
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