When Scott Jamison is teaching children about crime scene investigation or sharing his telecommunications skills at the Children’s Museum of Oak Ridge, he arrives with a smile that shows his selflessness and generosity.
Jamison recently received the museum’s annual Friend of the Child Award for volunteering his business and telecommunications skills, as well as his teaching skills, when the staff seeks his help.
“When Scott walks in the door, frequently responding to urgent pleas for help, there is only one desire—and that is to make things work,” said Ronnie Bogard, former museum board member who presented the award to Jamison.
The award is presented in memory of Selma Shapiro, Bogard’s mother and the museum’s executive director for its first 31 years. With her vision and resourcefulness, Shapiro built the museum from a its single-room beginnings to fill a former school building. The award was established to honor an individual who has contributed in a big way to the success of the museum.
“Scott exemplifies dedication to the museum,” Bogard said in presenting the award. “He served on the board from 2009-2015, continues as an advisory board member, and perhaps most importantly, he supports the telecommunications needs of the museum.
“He makes us feel that we are the most important customer and friend that he has. He has used his talents as a businessman to help prepare a business plan and advise us as needed,” Bogard added. “Last but not least, Scott is a teacher, and what could be more fitting for our museum than someone who gives of his time to teach our classes.”
Jamison owns Access America, a local and long distance telephone service and Internet service company started by his father 38 years ago in Oak Ridge. With a doctoral degree from the University of Tennessee in genetics, Jamison did molecular biology research in Cincinnati before returning in 1995 to join the family business.
He donates his time to work on phone, Internet, and alarm systems at the Children’s Museum. Most recently, he served as a technical consultant as the museum’s gala, a major fundraising event, went virtual for the first time because of the COVID-19 pandemic. He has helped with the gala a number of years, last year building a database that helped museum staff with completing sales for those who bought gala auction items.
Jamison uses his genetics background in teaching a week-long Imagination Station Summer Camp called “CSI—Bodies.”
“The museum operates with an incredibly small and dedicated staff. That makes it a pleasure to volunteer here,” Jamison said. “I enjoy helping out. There are always people here donating their time—all kinds of people giving time. They are the unsung heroes of the Children’s Museum.”
Bogard recalled that her mother had a passion for impacting the lives of children and families through the Museum, and she had a vision that the museum would focus on intergenerational learning.
“She wanted families to know the full history of Oak Ridge; she wanted children to be exposed to a broad range of cultures; and she wanted to showcase the arts, often through local artists,” Bogard said. “She knew that learning should go beyond the classroom, and she wanted the museum to teach our children how to think beyond themselves, and to have fun while doing so.”
Shapiro understood the necessity of having volunteers augment a small but talented staff. “She grew those connections,” Bogard said, “making each one of them feel special, while bringing their expertise and associations into the circle of dedication that surrounds and lifts up this museum.”
In honor of the Friend of the Child Award, and in memory of Selma Shapiro, the Shapiro family presented a $1,000 gift to the Children’s Museum.
The Children’s Museum, at 461 West Outer Drive in Oak Ridge, is open from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays, and from 1-4 p.m. Sundays. Museum admission is $8 for adults, $7 for seniors ages 62 and older, and $6 for children ages 3-18. Admission is discounted by $1 in each category while some exhibits are temporarily closed. Admission is free for children under 3 and museum members.
For more information, see the Children’s Museum website at http://childrensmuseumofoakridge.org/ or call (865) 482-1074.