Meet Historic Oakland Foundation volunteer Megan Hodgkiss. All of us at HOF are grateful to Megan for her time and boundless energy.
Tell us a little about yourself.
My name is Megan Hodgkiss. I’m originally from Pennsylvania. I’m a proud triple panther and active Georgia State alumna. During the day, I own and operate a marketing/communications company that’s based in Northeast Atlanta and serves clients across the U.S. When I’m not in the office, you can usually find me exploring a museum, relaxing in a local park, or sitting on my porch with a book. I have a passion for writing and history, which is what first drew me to historic Oakland Cemetery.
How did you get involved in volunteering at Oakland?
It all started with the Halloween tours. Before I was a volunteer, I loved attending the Capturing the Spirit of Oakland events. One year, the tour guide mentioned that Oakland was looking for volunteers if anyone wanted to get more involved and help support the foundation. So, I emailed Mary Woodlan (former director of volunteers and special events), and she added me to the next volunteer training session. I’ve been an active volunteer ever since!
What do you do at Oakland?
Primarily, I help with special events. I’ve volunteered as a greeter, ticket taker, and bartender. You may have seen me in the pop-up shop or membership tent. Every October, I volunteer as a tour guide for Capturing the Spirit of Oakland (if you’re attending this year, make sure to say “hello”!). I have also had the opportunity to do some tour researching and writing. My next project is a blog post for Oakland’s website.
Why do you volunteer, and what do you like most about volunteering at Oakland?
What first drew me to Oakland was the history—I wanted to support an organization that valued historical research and preservation. But what keeps me coming back are the people and the sense of appreciation. Oakland has a wonderful team, and I enjoy working with them and the other volunteers. We care about Oakland, and we care about each other. I also really like that the Oakland team will give you the opportunity to try out different types of volunteer roles, and you always feel like your work is valued and appreciated.
What is your favorite Oakland experience/memory/moment at Oakland?
I’m not sure I can narrow my experiences down to one favorite. There have been so many great ones. Introducing people to Oakland. Hearing family stories about ancestors buried at Oakland. Taking a new special topic tour. All of the amazing art installations. Listening to live music. Watching the preservation projects in progress. Seeing all the happy faces and costumes at Capturing the Spirit of Oakland events. Walking the paths along with all the pets and strollers. Meeting all the new visitors. Working with the other volunteers. I truly have treasured my time as an Oakland volunteer, and I look forward to all the new experiences still awaiting me.
Please share an interesting fact about yourself.
Over the past year, with all the health and safety restrictions in place, I had to get a little creative about how I spent my time. I love being outside, enjoying the greenspaces, and learning about Atlanta history—but organizing those outings became a little bit of a challenge. Fortunately, I discovered the book 111 Places in Atlanta that You Must Not Miss. Author Travis Taylor takes the readers all over Metro Atlanta: museums, parks, restaurants, shops, art exhibits, and historic sites. The book provided a safe way for me to explore the city and learn more about Atlanta. I’d driven by some of the places hundreds of times and didn’t realize their significance. Others, I got to visit for the first time. I’m currently working on an “Atlanta’s 111 Places Challenge.” As of this writing, I’ve visited 100 of the 111 spots. (If you want to follow my adventures, I’m @megan111places on Instagram). Historic Oakland Cemetery is #41 on the list. The book discusses golfing legend Bobby Jones and all the golfing-related items left for him at Oakland.
If you’d like to volunteer at historic Oakland Cemetery, please email Special Events and Volunteer Manager Mary Fernandez at firstname.lastname@example.org.