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
- Volunteer Information Specialists
- Behind-the-Scenes Volunteer Program
We are not currently recruiting for Artizens. If you are interested in the Artizen program, you are encouraged to submit an application any time. Applications are kept on file until the next recruitment.
Artizens are gallery volunteers who engage visitors in conversations about art and culture, building cross-cultural bridges and encouraging guests to share their perspectives and personal connections with the works in our galleries. Artizens casually interact with visitors of all ages, encouraging them to explore the Asian and American art in the Freer and Sackler through conversation, storytelling, and hands-on activities. Artizens also answer general museum questions, introduce visitors to the collections and history of the Galleries, and assist with interpretive programs.
Artizens work in the galleries on weekend afternoons throughout the year, weekend and weekday afternoons in the summer, and occasional evenings. Artizens may commit for the summer only or for the year-long program.
All Artizens serve the museums’ diverse audiences by:
- Providing dynamic, engaging, and meaningful learning experiences in the galleries that support and reflect our educational goals and standards
- Researching and studying exhibition content and background information so they are prepared to discuss and answer questions about the objects on display
- Being familiar with and communicating clearly to visitors about the Galleries, exhibition-related public programming, upcoming exhibitions, and other information
- Displaying flexibility, respect, and responsibility to each other, the docent corps, museum staff, and the public
- work two weekend or evening shifts per month (weekend shifts are usually 1–5:30 pm; evening shifts vary but fall between 5 pm and 10 pm)
- commit to at least one year with the program
- work two weekday, weekend, or evening shifts per month (daily shifts are 1–5:30 pm; evening shifts vary but fall between 5 pm and 10 pm)
- commit to a full summer with the program
Initial training takes place in the spring (March through May) on weekends and evenings and includes sessions on museum learning, interpretative techniques, and teaching methods; collections and exhibitions; and other specific content related to the arts of Asia. Ongoing training occurs on evenings or weekend days about 3–5 times during the year.
Qualified Artizens are reliable, responsible, and at least 18 years old. Artizens take initiative and work with other volunteers and staff to provide excellent visitor experiences. Artizens are effective communicators who enjoy listening to and talking with people of all ages, cultures, and backgrounds. They are collegial, creative problem-solvers. A background in teaching, storytelling, acting/performance, and/or public speaking is beneficial, as is an interest in Asian art and cultures.
Interested candidates should submit a completed online application during the recruitment period each January.
If you have questions about the Artizen program, contact us anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Public Programs AssistanceProgram 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
Ushers assist with ticketing and seating for films and performing arts programs. If you're interested in ushering, email email@example.com.
We are not currently recruiting for docents. If you are interested in the docent program, you are encouraged to submit an application any time. Applications are kept on file until the next recruitment.
Docents are volunteer gallery teachers who guide school and adult tours of the museum's exhibitions and collections, engaging visitors of all ages in actively looking at art in the galleries and learning about Asian cultures through art. By creating opportunities for dialogue and the exchange of ideas, docents lead visitors toward a deeper understanding of Asian art and culture.
Qualified docents are patient, compassionate, effective communicators, interested in Asian art and cultures, and enthusiastic about learning and teaching. Flexibility, good judgment, and the ability to work independently as well as within groups are additional skills for successful candidates. Applicants must be available on regular weekdays and occasional weekends and able to commit to 2 years with the program.
We provide all the necessary training to make you successful. Training takes place primarily on weekdays, and includes sessions on museum learning, interpretative techniques and teaching methods, collections and exhibitions, and other specific content related to the arts of Asia. Training docents learn with each other and through practicum work with experienced docents. Docents are trained to conduct both adult and school tours. Once docents have completed their initial training requirements (approximately 9 months), they participate in required and supplemental training on Wednesday mornings (10:15-12:15) year-round.
Docents serve the museum's diverse audiences by:
- Interpreting the permanent collections and special exhibitions for visitors
- Providing dynamic, engaging, and meaningful learning experiences in the galleries
- Conducting thematic tours for adults and school groups
In addition, docents work with each other and staff of the museum and are expected to:
- Prepare tours that support and reflect accurate information, exhibition goals, and educational standards
- Research and study exhibition content and background information for tours
- Use hands-on objects and supplemental materials for tours that are approved by the Department of Education and Public Programs
- Be familiar with and communicate clearly to visitors exhibition-related public programming, upcoming exhibitions, and other information available to the public
- Display flexibility, respect, and responsibility in relation to other docents, museum staff, and the public
- Work in concert with the Department of Education and Public Programs, supporting the departmental mission and following guidelines and policies
- Support and conform to the policies, standards, and procedures of the Freer Gallery of Art, the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, and the Smithsonian Institution
- Commit to 2 years with the program
- Attend initial training sessions and participate in practicum work
- Attend ongoing training on Wednesday mornings (10:1512:15).
- Agree to be available for touring one regular day per week and conduct a minimum number of tours per year
- Obtain substitutes for any scheduled tours in case of absence
Interested candidates should submit a completed application. Applications are reviewed at specific times in the year, which will be announced on this web page. If no "Current Opportunities" for docents are specified here, applications are kept on file and contacted for future recruitment. Selected applicants will be invited to attend a docent information session.
Applications are available online. The online application form can also be printed and faxed to Docent Program, Office of Education at (202) 357-4911, or mailed to:
Office of Education
Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery
1050 Independence Avenue, SW
MRC 707, P.O. Box 37102
Washington, DC 20013-7012
If you have further questions about the docent program, you can contact us anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 Smithsonianits exhibitions, activities, and servicesand 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.
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