Volunteer Information

Do you have a passion for early American history, the decorative arts, architecture, or museums in general? Dumbarton House, a Federal period house museum in Washington, D.C.’s Georgetown neighborhood recruits dedicated volunteers to share the story of courage, preservation, and the rise of a nation. Dumbarton House, headquarters of The National Society of The Colonial Dames of America, offers volunteers an opportunity to increase their knowledge of early American history, life in Washington during the early days of the Republic (circa 1800) and Federal period decorative arts and architecture, which they then share with museum visitors. Our mission is preservation and our passion is creating a connection to the past for our visitors. We’d love your help!

We appreciate the valuable gift we get from all of our volunteers — the gift of time.  Volunteers enable Dumbarton House to provide high quality tours and programs for visitors of all ages.

Ready to become a volunteer? Complete an application online or download an application


Winter 2018 Docent Training:

Volunteer Training Sessions will be held on Wednesdays from 10am-12pm and on Tuesday Evenings from 5:30pm-7:30pm. Make-up sessions are available if you cannot make a session and independent training is available if our upcoming training does not fit into your schedule.

Week Day Schedule (10am-12pm, includes light refreshments)

  • January 24  – Welcome! Dumbarton House & D.C. History  Overview
  • January 31 – The Objects & Decorative Arts
  • February 7 –  The Nourse Household
  • February 14 – Architecture and Landscaping
  • February 21  – Crafting a Visitor Friendly Tour

Week Day Evening Schedule (5:30-7:30pm, includes light refreshments)

  • February 27 – March 27th, sessions TBD

Volunteer Opportunities

DOCENTS: Dumbarton House recruits volunteers to help share the history of the house and its collection with the general public. Docents greet visitors and lead them on tours. Trained in the social history of the early 19th century and the decorative arts fashionable at the time, Docents are a vital link between the history of the house and its visitors. Docents are expected to commit themselves to two weekdays (Tuesday-Friday) or one day on the weekend each month in four-hour shifts. Extensive training is provided for all Docents. Docents may also choose to volunteer to lead group tours or organize public programs. Read a full description of the volunteer position.

VISITOR SERVICE VOLUNTEERS: Would you like to make people’s day with a cheerful welcome? This volunteer opportunity may be for you! These volunteers are another vital link between the history of Dumbarton House and its visitors. Greet visitors, hand out brochures, manage ticket and gift shop sales, record attendance, and answer general questions. This is great for someone who has limited time to train or volunteer. VSVs answer visitor questions about the neighborhood and Dumbarton House, and assist with starting visitors on self-guided tours. Visitor Service Volunteers are expected to commit themselves to a minimum of two weekdays (Tuesday-Friday) or one day on the weekend each month in four-hour shifts. Training is provided.

PUBLIC PROGRAM VOLUNTEERS: Help share the history of the house and its collection with visitors during public programs on weekday evenings and weekend days.  PPVs are a vital link between the history of the house and its visitors. Trained in the social history of the early 19th century and the decorative arts fashionable at the time.

BENEFITS:

  • complimentary individual museum membership (includes 10% discount on Gift Shop purchases, invitations to private museum events and programs, discounts on admission to public programs, monthly e-news and Events Calendar, and two guest passes for public tours);
  • ongoing enrichment programs featuring lectures and field visits to other sites of interest;
  • available off-street parking while volunteering at museum;
  • annual social events, including an annual appreciation event;
  • monthly newsletter for museum volunteers and staff; and
  • access to the Dumbarton House research library.