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Volunteer at the Freer and Sackler Galleries

Volunteers in the Education Department are an essential link between the public and the museum and work to carry out the museum's educational mission.

Public Programs Assistance

Program Volunteers

Program volunteers assist periodically (2–6 times per year) with implementing various public programs, such as demonstrations, gallery talks, hands-on activities, and family days. Each program has specific training and requirements. Volunteer duties may include wayfinding, information sharing, assisting performers, facilitating hands-on activities, crowd-management, and ticketing.

You must submit an online application to volunteer for these events. Once your application is on file, we will contact you as appropriate opportunities become available.


Ushers assist with ticketing and seating for films and performing arts programs. If you're interested in ushering, email vickto@si.edu.

We are no longer accepting applications for the 2014-15 docent class

Docent Program Recruitment 2014–15

We are seeking creative and enthusiastic individuals to become docents at the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, the Smithsonian’s museums of Asian art. Docents are volunteers who lead adult and school-age (K–12) tours of both museums’ special exhibitions and permanent collections, engaging visitors in learning primarily about Asian art and culture through active looking in the galleries. Docents receive in-depth training in art history and gallery teaching and are managed by the Department of Education and Public Programs.

Docent Program Description

  • Begins September 2014 and concludes June 2015
  • Includes weekly training on Tuesdays, 10 am–1 pm
  • Includes occasional training sessions with current docents on Wednesdays, 10:15 am– 12:15 pm
  • Features training on the Galleries, which are devoted to the research, acquisition, exhibition, care, and management of the collections of Asian art in each museum and American art in the Freer Gallery

Docent Program Requirements

  • Attend all Docent-in-Training sessions
  • Pass a qualifying tour in summer 2015
  • After successfully completing training, begin touring by September 2015
  • Commit to two years of active touring for both school-age (K–12) and adult audiences
  • Select one weekday to give tours between 10 am and 4 pm
  • Conduct at least 24 tours per year, including six weekend tours
  • Attend continuing training sessions on Wednesdays, 10:15 am–12:15 pm, two or three times monthly throughout the year

Selection Criteria

  • Ability to fulfill program requirements
  • Familiarity with Asian art, culture, and/or history
  • Experience working with K–12 students a plus
  • Ability to give tours in foreign languages a plus

To Apply

  • Attend an information session at the museums on Thursday, July 10 or Tuesday, July 15 from 10:30 am–12:00pm (optional)
  • Interview with museum staff and docents

Email us at asiadocent at si.edu.
All applicants will be notified of their status by September 2014.

Volunteer Information Specialist Program

Managed centrally through the Visitor Information and Associates' Reception Center (VIARC), 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. To learn more about becoming a Volunteer Information Specialist, please visit the Smithsonian Volunteer Opportunities page.

Behind-the-Scenes Volunteer Program

Engage in a variety of multi-faceted projects in person at the Smithsonian, in your own community around the globe, and even in the Smithsonian’s virtual environment as a Behind-the-Scenes Volunteer (OVS). To learn more about becoming a Behind-the-Scenes Volunteer, please visit http://www.si.edu/Volunteer/Behind-the-Scenes-Volunteer.

volunteer at Asia After Dark

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