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


Volunteer Opportunities

DOCENTS provide high quality tours during Museum hours Tuesday-Sunday, 10am-3pm and for private group tours. Docents are expected to volunteer two weekdays (Tuesday-Friday) or one day on the weekend each month. Extensive training includes 4 sessions about the social history and decorative arts of the early 19th century and shadowing an experienced docent. Additionally ongoing enrichment and social events are provided throughout the years.

Docent training for the fall of 2019 is schedule for the following dates:

  • Weekday Training: Wednesdays, October 23, 30, November 6, & 20, 10:00am-12:00pm
  • Weekend Training: Saturdays, October 26, November 2, 9, 23, 10:30am-12:30pm. 

PUBLIC PROGRAM VOLUNTEERS share our history in a more informal setting during our evening and weekend programs such as Dumbarton at Dusk (3rd Thursday), DKMC Walk Weekend (first weekend in June), and more!

VISITOR SERVICE VOLUNTEERS greet visitors, hand out brochures, & answer general questions in our visitor center during Museum hours Tuesday-Sunday, 10am-3pm. 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.

OTHER OPPORTUNITIES: If you have any other interests that you believe may benefit Dumbarton House, please reach out and let us know.  This could be anything from filing to gardening to writing or research.  While we may not always have availability, I always are willing to listen to your thoughts and ideas to make Dumbarton House a greater part of the community.


  • 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.