Volunteer Program

Docent Program  

Please note: While applications may be submitted anytime, we do not expect to train another docent class until 2014

Do you love to tell—and listen to—a good story? Is "meeting people" your idea of a good time? Are you the "unofficial" tour guide for your friends and family? If so, then consider becoming a docent at the Museum!

Docents support the Museum's collections, research, and exhibitions by staffing interactive carts, assisting visitors in selected exhibitions, giving Highlights Tours, and facilitating hands-on activities. Thousands of visitors—from local communities, across the nation, and around the world—benefit from docent-led activities each year. The program is designed to offer all visitors an exciting and engaging experience that stimulates conversation, promote an appreciation of the nation's history, and deepen the understanding of what it means to be an American.

If you are interested in joining this dynamic, motivated group, and providing an indispensable service to thousands of visitors, we welcome your application.

Ongoing Volunteer Opportunities

Volunteer Information Specialist Program
Managed centrally through the Office of Visitor Services, Volunteer Information Specialists provide information services to museum visitors at Museum information desks or to persons telephoning the Institution for assistance. In addition to welcoming visitors, museum desk volunteers provide a broad range of information about the Smithsonian—its exhibitions, activities, and services—and general information on other popular attractions in Washington, D.C. Telephone information volunteers respond to inquiries that pertain to the full range of Smithsonian activity, forward calls to either offices or staff members as appropriate, and fulfill a variety of requests for printed information. Learn more about becoming a Volunteer Information Specialist.

Behind-the-Scenes Volunteer Program 

Also managed through VIARC, the Behind-the-Scenes Volunteer Program provides assistance to Smithsonian staff by recruiting and placing individuals who wish to contribute their time and expertise to specific areas of study within the Institution. Volunteers in this program work with staff members on both short-term and long-term projects. Opportunities are generally available in: archives; libraries; administrative offices; conservation laboratories; and curatorial divisions related to art, history, and science collections. Learn more about becoming a Behind-the-Scenes Volunteer.