About the Volunteer Program
The San Diego History Center is committed to collecting, preserving, and sharing the history – past, present, and future — of our region. We value inclusion, diversity, and equity and strive to maintain a safe and welcoming environment that encourages lifelong learning for all.
Our volunteers contribute their time, talents, and energy to help the San Diego History Center in many valuable ways including: enhancing visitors’ understanding of the history of San Diego, leading tours of our dynamic exhibitions, organizing materials in our collection, and advancing our mission.
By volunteering with us, you’ll meet new people, gain interesting knowledge, and help share the story of our diverse community!
- 15% discount on books, DVDs, and SDHC publications.
- Free admission to the San Diego History Center in Balboa Park and the Junípero Serra Museum in Presidio Park.
- Free admission to SDHC-sponsored lectures, space permitting.
- Free admission or discounts to Balboa Park museums, special events, or programs.
Below are some example volunteer positions. Specialized training is provided for positions requiring enhanced knowledge. As part of our orientation, all volunteers receive an introduction to the San Diego History Center including diversity and inclusion training.
ENGAGEMENT AND EDUCATION VOLUNTEERS
Gallery Attendants provide a helpful and friendly presence in our galleries to assist us in protecting our valuable collections. They are attentive to their environment and able to enforce boundaries and procedures using appropriate communication techniques and customer service skills. Gallery Attendants serve as members of the Visitor Engagement team, helping to offer a welcoming and safe environment for all museum guests. Available for volunteers age 18 or older. Training provided.
Gallery Guides are ambassadors of the museums during open days and hours. Duties include welcoming guests in a friendly and professional manner, engaging visitors in conversations about the content and intent behind our exhibitions, answering questions, and overall enhancing the visitor experience. Interpretative skills and techniques are taught and written materials are provided for individual exhibitions. Guides may be expected to work a minimum number of hours per month. Training provided.
Docents facilitate interactive, inquiry-based tours for adult and school groups in order to spark visitors’ imaginations and stimulate their curiosity. SDHC docents play a vital role in creating memorable experiences by bringing history alive. Docents are trained at both the San Diego History Center in Balboa Park and the Serra Museum in Presidio Park. A minimum commitment of one year may be required. Training provided.
Community Historians are a group of SDHC volunteers who offer presentations on local history to community groups and organizations. Volunteers in this program work closely with SDHC staff to develop their own presentations, covering a wide array of San Diego related topics. Training provided.
Administrative volunteers help staff with projects on an as-needed basis in various departments. Duties may include making copies, stuffing envelopes, organizing files, data entry, preparatory work for meetings, and other tasks. Duties and hours vary depending on the department and scope of projects. Assignments are periodic; there is no minimum time commitment.
Special events volunteers assist staff with special events on an as-needed basis. Events generally occur after hours or on weekends. Duties and hours vary depending on type and size of event. No minimum time commitment is required.
Special projects volunteers assist staff with unique projects on an as-needed basis. Projects may include promoting events or exhibition experiences, marketing memberships at special events, or assisting with AV/technical support at meetings or lectures. Duties and hours will vary depending on type and size of project. No minimum time commitment is required. Training provided as needed.
COLLECTIONS & ARCHIVES VOLUNTEERS
Collections and archives volunteers work closely with SDHC staff to help process, catalog, digitize, transcribe, research, and create finding aids for our vast collection of historic documents, photographs, clothing, oral histories, art, and objects. Knowledge of museum terminology is helpful; experience with Photoshop and PastPerfect is preferred. Excellent computer skills, strong attention to detail, and data entry accuracy is essential as is legible, neat handwriting. A minimum of 3 to 4 hours per week commitment may be required depending on the project. Onsite assignments are generally only available during business hours during the regular work week. Training provided as needed.
Become a History Center Volunteer!
To be considered for a volunteer position, please complete the online Volunteer Application using the link below. We will contact you to schedule an interview or invite you to an orientation. Please note that volunteer opportunities can be limited or have a waitlist. Thank you for your interest!