Marty and Myrtle Rausch became the live-in caretakers at the Stillaguamish Valley Pioneer Museum when it opened in 1997. (Contributed photo)

Marty and Myrtle Rausch became the live-in caretakers at the Stillaguamish Valley Pioneer Museum when it opened in 1997. (Contributed photo)

Live-in caretakers sought for Stillaguamish Valley Pioneer Museum

The couple who’ve filled the roles since it opened are stepping aside.

ARLINGTON — The Stillaguamish Valley Pioneers is looking for someone to call the group’s museum home.

There are antique household and business items on the main level, a model train set of a historic railroad in the basement and taxidermy animals on the second floor. The old farm equipment is out back. There’s an event venue in the front yard.

The Stillaguamish Valley Pioneer Museum at 20722 67th Ave. NE is a large building with exhibits of donated treasures from the valley’s past. It sits on nearly 7 acres with three ponds, a park, the museum and Pioneer Hall.

Marty and Myrtle Rausch have been the live-in caretakers at the museum since it opened in 1997. They recently moved out, though they haven’t gone far. It takes a few minutes for them to drive down the street and take care of the museum while the search for new caretakers continues.

Myrtle Rausch also is president of the Pioneers and expects to stay involved with the group, just not as museum caretaker. The stairs became too much, she said. Marty Rausch is 80, Myrtle 78.

Marty Rausch retired from a telephone company in Colorado. The couple moved to Lake Goodwin in 1986. Myrtle Rausch began teaching computer skills at senior centers. Then Marty stopped by Pioneer Hall and learned the museum being built behind it needed a live-in caretaker.

“He just kind of stumbled into it,” Myrtle Rausch said. “Never gave it a thought to being museum caretakers. Now I’m president and help run the place.”

It’s an ideal job for retirees, she said. There’s no salary or health benefits, but the caretakers don’t have to pay for the two-bedroom apartment on the museum’s second floor. Basic utilities are provided.

The Pioneers are looking for another couple to move in. They’ll manage event rentals of Pioneer Hall, keep up the grounds and mind the lights and alarms, among other day-to-day tasks. There’s also some maintenance involved, such as changing light bulbs or checking the furnace.

“There is quite a bit to do,” Myrtle Rausch said. “I think it takes two people. Sometimes, I think it takes four.”

The most important skill for a caretaker, she said, is being good with the public. Managing Pioneer Hall event rentals means a lot of phone calls and face-to-face conversations.

Meeting people is the best part of the job, too, she said. And it’s fun to learn about the history of the Stillaguamish Valley, including Arlington, Stanwood, Darrington and Granite Falls.

The goal is to have new caretakers by the end of the summer.

Applicants should be able to meet the physical demands of yard work, lifting and carrying supplies, and going up and down stairs. They must be professional, have excellent communication skills, a current driver’s license and no criminal record, according to the job description.

Experience with basic carpentry, electrical and plumbing repairs, woodworking and small engine repair are preferred.

Applications are being accepted until July 1. A resume and cover letter should be emailed to stillypioneers@gmail.com or mailed to SVPA Caretaker Job, 20722 67th Ave. NE, Arlington WA, 98223. For more information, call 360-435-7289.

Kari Bray: 425-339-3439; kbray@heraldnet.com.

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