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Volunteer Program

Volunteers have provided vital support for the Smithsonian Institution since its establishment in 1846. Volunteers play an essential role in inspiring and engaging our audiences and supporting behind-the-scenes work. The National Museum of African American History Culture (NMAAHC) Volunteer Program began in 2008 and is highly competitive. All volunteers must pass a federal Background Investigation. We currently have approximately 90 volunteers.

Volunteer recruitment is now closed

Currently, the entire staff is singularly focused on the exciting and enormous task of fund-raising and visibility; building the collections; creating both pre-open exhibitions and simultaneously creating the inaugural exhibitions for the new museum; producing programs; and constructing a building. At the moment, our volunteer recruit is closed. However, you can sign-up to receive an alert or phone call when we re-open the application process.

Volunteer Criteria
What is NMAAHC looking for in a volunteer? Individuals over 16 years of age, who care about all people, strive to live their best lives and who are positive and thoughtful. Our volunteers are well-educated and excited about lifelong learning. We are seeking bright, friendly, energetic and discreet individuals of all ages and backgrounds. Knowledge of museum work is not required, but a willingness to learn and to pitch in where required is.

If you have further questions about NMAAHC volunteer opportunities, visit our FAQ section.

We are still offering a Virtual Volunteer Program, through the Freedmen’s Bureau Project. Those of you living outside of the area, we hope that you will take advantage of our pilot Virtual Volunteer Program as well.


Frequently Asked Questions

I am interested in becoming a NMAAHC volunteer how can I apply?

  • Currently, we are not accepting volunteer applications. You can sign-up to receive an alert when volunteer recruitment reopens

Who do I contact to receive more information about your
volunteer program?

  • If the information listed on our website does not answer your question you may email our volunteer resource account, nmaahcvolunteers@si.edu
  • Please note that this mailbox is not actively monitored and we cannot always reply to or immediately review every e-mail that we receive or guarantee your email will be read due to the volume of informational requests we receive each day.
  • Keep in mind that when contacting the museum that, in this final push toward our Grand Opening, the museum staff is singularly focused on the enormous task of fundraising and visibility; building the collections; creating both pre-opening exhibition and inaugural exhibitions for the new museum; producing public and classroom programs, designing publications and technology, and constructing a building.

I submitted my resume and/or expressed interest in volunteering through someone I
know or an email to staff, should I also submit my application on this website

  • Yes! Please do. The staff is receiving upwards of 100 emails a-day, and your information may have become lost in the effort to stay on top of critical building-related deadlines.

I submitted my application, but have not heard from anyone?

  • We are not ignoring you! Keep in mind that when contacting the museum that, in this final push toward our Grand Opening, the museum staff is singularly focused on the enormous task of fundraising and visibility; building the collections; creating both pre-opening exhibition and inaugural exhibitions for the new museum; producing public and classroom programs, designing publications and technology, and constructing a building.

I would like to volunteer in a capacity that is not listed on your website

  • The Smithsonian Institution has many opportunities for you to play an essential role in inspiring and engaging millions of people all over the world. Just because the NMAAHC does not offer this opportunity that does not mean it does not exist elsewhere. We encourage you to explore the many opportunities available around the Institution and discover the right volunteer program for you. To learn more about the Smithsonian volunteer program visit: www.si.edu/volunteer

I am interesting in being a volunteer at the NMAAHC Grand Opening Ceremonies
how can I get involved?

  • We are receiving many inquiries regarding the Grand Opening Ceremonies, the specific plans of which and the date are still to be determined. Please return to this website to view information when those plans are finalized.

I would like to work for the NMAAHC.

  • Volunteer positions do not transition into permanent positions. If you are seeking employment, please monitor positions announced on the Smithsonian Institution Office of Human Resources website at www.sihr.si.edu and apply via www.usajobs.gov

I would like to volunteer my talents to the new museum. How do I submit my ideas for activities, exhibitions, programs, publications, special events and tours?

  • At this time the NMAAHC is unable to accept submissions for activities, exhibitions, programs, publications, special events and tours. In this final push toward our Grand Opening, the museum staff is singularly focused on the enormous task of fundraising and visibility; building the collections; creating both pre-opening exhibition and inaugural exhibitions for the new museum; producing public and classroom programs, designing publications and technology, and constructing a building.

*SI EEO Statement
The Office of Equal Employment and Minority Affairs (OEEMA) ensures compliance with regulatory guidelines and Institutional policies as they relate to diversity and equal opportunity; the office provides direction, oversight, facilitation, and reports on all aspects of equal opportunity (EO) in the Smithsonian Institution's employment and business relationships.

Learn more about the Smithsonian’s EEO policy on the Smithsonian website: http://www.si.edu/oeema/