Volunteer with Us

Do you have a passion for early American history, the decorative arts, architecture, or museums, in general? Dumbarton House partners with dedicated volunteers to share the story of courage, preservation, and the rise of a nation.

Join Our Ranks

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. Volunteers then get to share what they’ve learned 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.

Click Here to download a volunteer application. 

Email completed application to education@dumbartonhouse.org. Applications for the spring are due March 29th.


DOCENTS provide high-quality tours during museum hours Friday-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 four sessions about the social history and decorative arts of the early 19th century and shadowing an experienced docent. Ongoing enrichment and social events are provided throughout the years.

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 at other events!

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, we always invite volunteers to share their thoughts and ideas for ways to get involved with Dumbarton House.

Volunteer 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)
  • Passes to other museums in the Historic House Museum Consortium (HHMC) that can be checked out for use
  • 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
  • Access to the Dumbarton House research library