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Smithsonian National Postal Museum


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Getting Involved




Volunteering at the National Postal Museum





Volunteers at the National Postal Museum are friendly ambassadors who greet and introduce people to the museum and its content, making them feel welcomed and excited about their visit.

As ambassadors, Volunteers provide a variety of experiences to the visitors. Through these experiences, Volunteers make history and philately (philately = study of stamps) interesting, accessible and exciting.







Volunteers interacting with adults and young people







There are six volunteering opportunities. No prior knowledge is required but be sure to explore each volunteer position and requirements. You can pick the one (or more!) that fits your interests and needs.

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Currently Recruiting:

Highlights Tour Volunteers
A Highlights Tours Volunteer is an approachable source of knowledge who serves an audience who is curious to learn more at the Postal Museum, especially through guided tours. Highlights Tours Volunteers are also able to give good guidance and information to meet the interests of visitors.

Requirements:

You are...

  • Someone who loves learning
  • Independent and responsible
  • Friendly, a “people person”

Who can

  • Share your knowledge and passion with museum visitors
  • Attend initial training sessions this summer (24 hours total: four 6-hour weekend session or eight 3-hour weekday evening session) covering museum content and learning theory
  • Volunteer at least 20 hours per year
  • Commit to volunteer at least 2 years of service

Activity Carts Volunteers
Activity Carts Volunteers work independently or in pairs to provide opportunities for short, visitor-driven interactions based on particular objects, activities, or stories. Using a cart that stores supplies necessary for the activity, Activity Carts Volunteers facilitate experiences for a wide range of audience types, and personalize experiences for visitors.

Requirements:

You are...

  • Someone who loves learning
  • Independent and responsible
  • Friendly, a “people person”

Who can

  • Share your knowledge and passion with museum visitors
  • Attend initial training sessions this summer (24 hours total: four 6-hour weekend session or eight 3-hour weekday evening session) covering museum content and learning theory
  • Volunteer at least 20 hours per year
  • Commit to volunteer at least 2 years of service

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Public Programs Volunteer
Public Programs Volunteers interpret and communicate Postal Museum stories in audience-centric ways that frequently have hands-on or active discussion components. They are welcoming, approachable, knowledgeable, flexible, and work as a team to offer successful public programs. Public Programs include family festival, lectures and card making workshops. Because most of Postal Museum’s Public Programs takes place on weekends, weekend availability is crucial* for this volunteer position.

Requirements:

You are...

  • Someone who loves learning
  • Friendly, a “people person”
  • Fast learner and can immediately share what you learned with others
  • Team player

Who can

  • Attend a day long training session
  • Volunteer at least 20 hours per year
  • Commit to volunteer at least 1 year of service

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Museum Information Desk Volunteer
Information Desk Volunteers will work at the museum’s brand new information desk (we have a desk now too, but we will have a new one when the William H. Gross Gallery opens in September!) where they act on the front lines interacting with visitors of all ages. They not only welcome Postal Museum visitors but also provide information and answer questions about other Smithsonian museums —its exhibitions, activities, and services, and also neighborhood amenities.

Requirements:

You are...

  • Friendly, a “people person”
  • Someone who loves learning
  • Independent and responsible
  • Clear communicator who can connect visitors with the resources they need on their visit

Who can

  • Share your knowledge and passion with museum visitors
  • Attend 5 weeks training course (2 full-day sessions and 3 half-day sessions) led by the Smithsonian Institution’s Office of Visitor Services (OVS) - OVS provides sessions on Fridays and Saturdays so you can choose to attend the one that fits your schedule
  • Volunteer one day (4-hour shift) a week, or every other week for a weekend day
  • Commit to volunteer at least 1 year of service

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Behind the Scenes Volunteer
Behind the Scenes Volunteers keep the museum running.  Working on ongoing and short-term projects for the museum’s Collections, Curatorial, and Education departments, these dedicated individuals can see museum work in action and contribute to caring for and researching the nation’s philatelic and postal operations collection and archive. Some opportunities allow Volunteers to dedicate their time to the museum remotely.

Requirements:

You are...

  • Someone who loves learning
  • Independent and responsible

Who can

  • Work solitary on assigned project(s)
  • Be responsive to staff feedback and needs
  • Work in a modern office environment

Commit to volunteer at least... well, the time commitment based on the project

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School Tour Volunteers
School Tour Volunteers work with students who visit to the museum on our guided school tours.  Using museum objects and educational collections, School Tour Volunteers introduce new and different approaches to understand topics of subjects the students are studying in their classroom.

Requirements:

You are...

  • Someone who loves learning
  • Energetic and passionate about making a difference in learning for children
  • Friendly, a “people person”
  • Patient and comfortable with working with young audiences

Who can

  • Make learning at the museum a fun and engaging experience for young audiences
  • Attend training course in the Fall – course details TBA this Summer
  • Volunteer in the morning during weekdays
  • Volunteer on a weekly basis during the school year (2 hours per week)
  • Commit to volunteer at least 1 year of service

To Apply
Visit the “Apply to Volunteer” form to get your application process started.

When you are filling out an online application, you dont get to choose a specific position(s) yet this process will take place after you submit the application and are contacted by the Volunteer Coordinator.

You will be contacted by the Volunteer Coordinator after you submit your application online.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Motoko Hioki, the Volunteer Coordinator at HiokiM@si.edu or phone: (202) 633-4739.

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Arago
The Arago Volunteer Researcher Program is a volunteer program at the National Postal Museum and is administered in coordination with the Smithsonian Behind-the-Scenes Volunteer Program.  It provides volunteer researchers the opportunity to share their specialized knowledge and cumulative research with a vast audience.

For more information about this volunteer opportunity visit:
Arago Researcher Program















General Volunteer Information
Volunteer Benefits
In exchange for your valuable contribution of time and expertise you will receive:

  • 20% discount at all Smithsonian Shops
  • 10% discount on items at the National Gallery of Art and the Kennedy Center shops
  • Behind-the-scenes access to the Museum
  • Invitations to special programs and events
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