By Judy Reed
The Cedar Springs Historical Museum has a new unofficial program director, who has a passion for history, which is not unusual. What is unusual is that he is only 13 years old and yet harbors more passion for his work and is better at communicating it than many adults.
Nolan Patin, 13, the son of Jeff and Cindy Patin, of Algoma Township, has been working with the museum for the last year or so. He started by creating the haunted schoolhouse the museum has done for Halloween the last two years.
Nolan said that it all started last year, when his aunt spoke with him and his brother about being on their pirate float. “She also wanted input on a haunted house, and I brought up my ideas,” he explained. “It was a big hit and we did it again this year.”
After that event, Nolan was hooked. He’s been helping out with various tasks and events ever since.
“He’s been a real blessing,” remarked Sharon Jett, of the Cedar Springs Historical Society. “To have him approach us, on his own, about wanting to do these things, is really something.” Jett said he took the haunted house idea and created everything for it. He also was recently a newspaper boy on their Victorian candlelight tour after the Christmas tree lighting. “He was so into it,” said Jett. “His enthusiasm is wonderful. He’s extremely creative.”
Nolan is being homeschooled this year, and goes to the museum on Wednesdays to help anywhere he’s needed. Jett said he has been helping index the funeral home books, and has helped in getting the schoolhouse ready for tours.
“He’s polite and kind-hearted,” noted Jett. “It’s hard to get people who want to help, especially younger people.”
Nolan said that he has a lot of interest in the history and being around the people there, and helping them with their tasks. He noted that he also likes helping with events, bringing different ideas to people, and doing research.
However, Nolan is also helping out the museum in another way. For the second year in a row, he has created a Christmas light show set to music, in front of the Patin home at 2207 15 Mile, one block west of Algoma. And he set up a donation box for the museum. “I have a huge passion for Christmas,” he remarked. “I love Christmas.” He fell in love with light shows after seeing one in Grand Haven. “I thought, I have to have that in my yard,” he explained.
After looking up on YouTube how to create one, he realized the expense involved. So when he raised his 4H animals and sold them, he used that money to buy the necessary supplies to create the light show, which he programmed himself. It runs from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. daily. It is a smaller but fun show, with 4,000 lights set to three popular songs. You can pull into the driveway to watch and listen, just tune your radio to 103.5. You can also leave a donation in the box for the museum if you like. Nolan said that those donations would be used toward the haunted schoolhouse for next year.
He said that what they really want, is for more people to come through the museum when they have those special events. “We do a lot of work for them,” he explained.
Nolan also encourages younger people to become a junior member of the museum and help out. “There is always a need for us,” he said.