Southeast Missouri State University

Historic Preservation Major Keeps Active in Community


Robyn Mainor has always surrounded herself with history.  As a child, she traveled the United States with her family to almost every state, visiting numerous museums and other historic sites, and her passion for history and culture have taken her to her perfect major at Southeast.  An historic preservation major from Cape Girardeau, Robyn is a member of several committees both inside and outside of the University.  Her interests prompted her to get a minor in art history as well.

Robyn currently works as a docent at the Cape River Heritage Museum, giving tours and helping to manage their collections.  The first person to receive a paid position at the museum, Robyn has worked there for a year-and-a-half, going through manuscript collections, clothing and photographs.

Aside from her experience with history, Robyn believes the networking experiences she received at Southeast have been invaluable to her.

“The people I’ve met here at the University have given me the opportunity to meet even more people,” she said.  “I’ve become sort of a go-to person now because I got to know people through various organizations and the University.  I really like that because I get to help out.”

Robyn also enjoys it because it’s a way of giving back to those who have helped her along the way.  Through her relationships with faculty members and other students, Robyn has been introduced to and made a part of several organizations in the community, including the City of Cape Girardeau’s Historic Preservation Committee and the Main Street Program, which focuses on the rehabilitation of the downtown area.

Robyn was urged to join the Cape Historic Preservation Committee by Southeast alum Pam Watson, a former historic preservation major.  The committee works to consult and advise members of the community who own historic property and are working towards getting it registered nationally or deemed a local landmark.  They are also responsible for community awareness and conducting workshops and exhibits in the Cape Girardeau Public Library.

Watson also helped Robyn to receive a position on the Main Street Program as well.  The program is responsible for improving the look of the historic downtown area, and has worked in several areas to beautify its property, with a design committee for empty storefronts and the downtown mural.

Robyn’s love for her major and the people here prompted her to become president of the Historic Preservation Program here at Southeast.  The student group is involved in volunteer activities and serves as a resource for new students.

Despite all her accomplishments and activities, Robyn has a couple of years to go before she earns her bachelor’s degree at Southeast, but she keeps doing all she can while she is still here. 

“I’ve been told I’m so young for so many things, but what does it matter?” she said.  “What really matters is where your heart is, your interests are, and your goals are.  I have so much fun doing what I do, so it’s not like work to me.  My dad told me to go out and do things that you like to do for your resume, and that’s exactly what I’ve been doing.”

Robyn urges Southeast students to try different things to “know what you do and don’t like.”  She also encourages anyone interested to visit one of the Cape Girardeau Historic Preservation Committee meetings, the third Wednesday of each month at 7 p.m., or the Main Street Program meetings, the second Tuesday of each month at 7 p.m.  Volunteers are needed, and there are several projects in which to participate.

Robyn’s spare time is full of reading and travel, and another love of her life, her future husband.  Robyn met her fiancé, Mike Hines, a graduate teaching assistant in the Department of Mathematics, here at Southeast, and the two plan to marry after they receive their degrees.