Sunday, November 2, 2008

Volunteer of the Month: Silke Higgins

Silke Higgins began in our Volunteer Program just a few months ago in July. Her work supplements her studies at San Jose State, where she is working towards her B.A. in Anthropology (with an emphasis on Archaeology), by being a positive and enthusiastic presence to both staff and guests here at Rosicrucian Park.

While Silke might be one of our newest volunteers, her contributions have been prodigious! They include reorganizing the museum’s Curator's Library, assisting at workshops, giving talks, aiding with staff projects and putting in many over-time hours at our events and festivals. She will volunteer in whatever capacity she is needed, from the complex set-up and takedown of events to developing talks and being a professional and informed resource for our guests, assuring that both knowledge and fun are part of their visit.

Silke’s fascination with Egypt began at a early age. Originally from Germany, Silke grew up reciting king lists and memorizing random Egyptian facts while other children played. Stories from ancient Egypt enchanted her throughout childhood, while the lion-headed goddess Sekhmet captured her heart and imagination.

For Silke, Sekhmet represents the ancient concept of Ma’at, a true symbol of balance. Her surprise and delight were magnified when she found a small, almost perfectly preserved statue of Sekhmet in the museum’s collection, and further, an entire gallery dedicated to this deity. This small Sekhmet statue, RC #1, the first artifact to come into the museum’s collection has been enthralling people all the way back to the time of the Museum’s founder, Harvey Spencer Lewis.

The statue sat on H. Spencer Lewis' desk at the headquarters of the Rosicrucian Order, AMORC during the early years of the 20th century. When greeting visitors, he would point to Sekhmet and say, "Here is the Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum!" From his vision, our present Museum has grown to be the largest display of ancient Egyptian artifacts in Western North America.

Besides the Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum, Silke has been a frequent visitor to both the Berlin and British museums, but by far her most memorable experience occurred in Köln (Cologne) where, as a grade-schooler, she came face to face with King Tut’s mask on its travels through Europe.

Silke is a true people-person and finds day-to-day enjoyment while walking about the museum and partaking in other activities that allow her to interact with guests. She easily draws people into her tales by sharing her knowledge and joy of the artifacts.

In her own words, Silke describes the museum as “A joyous place! It rewards educating people about a time so long ago, but is still so vivid in everyone’s eyes. Who doesn’t know something about ancient Egypt? It’s rewarding being able to bring it to life and make it real for our guests.”

Danke Sehr! Silke for your volunteer service at the Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum!

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