You’ve heard the buzz about the opening of the new National Museum of African American History and Culture next year. Here’s your chance to get involved.
Harriett Tubman’s Shawl. Louis Armstrong’s Trumpet. Chuck Berry’s Cadillac. Nat Turner’s Bible.
These are just a sample of the over 30,000 objects that will fill the National Museum of African American History and Culture. From the obscure and everyday to the large and iconic, these objects will help infuse American history with the struggles and triumphs of African Americans that have long been left out of history books. By sharing these objects and stories, NMAAHC will be a place for visitors from all over the world to remember and connect with American history and stimulate a dialogue about race that will foster a spirit of reconciliation and healing.
Ultimately, the museum will be a place of meaning, of memory, of reflection, of laughter, and of hope. It will be a beacon that reminds us of what we were, the challenges we still face, and point us towards what we can become.
Museum staff can only accomplish so much of this important mission on our own. Volunteers provide the support we need—without their assistance so many tasks, big and small, would fall through the cracks. As one veteran volunteer said, “At NMAAHC, I feel like I’m an integral part of the operations…I feel like I am a part of something being created—that I’m helping to tell a story that needs to be needs to be told.”
A small, dedicated group of volunteers have been working to help us tell this American story, but as we get closer and closer to the opening, we need more help.
We need your help!
Visitor Information Advocate Volunteers will greet and welcome visitors, encourage an exploration of the museum’s exhibitions and provide information about the entire Smithsonian. Volunteers play an integral role in helping visitors make a connection to the museum’s content.
We are looking for bright, friendly, energetic, and welcoming individuals of all ages and backgrounds. Potential volunteers should be able to solve problems, offer excellent customer service, and enjoy interacting with diverse audiences. Knowledge of museum work is not required, but a willingness to learn and to pitch in where needed is.
Volunteering doesn’t just benefit the museum. Volunteering at NMAAHC provides many opportunities for personal growth and fulfillment both socially and intellectually. But let our volunteers tell you themselves:
Volunteering “is a tremendous cultural experience…we’ll meet people from around the world and be able to connect them with this history.” Not only do you meet interesting people, but you can also “bring together younger generations.”
Volunteering gives you the opportunity to learn something new every day. As one volunteer put it, “the learning process is also a huge opportunity, you’re going to find something that you’re interested in and realize the history of it.” NMAAHC will be a place where “everyone will able to connect with anything in the museum” including our volunteers, themselves.
Help us tell the story. Become a volunteer or join us in promoting this exciting volunteer opportunity to your family, friends, and neighbors.
Visit the NMAAHC Volunteer webpage for more information and to start the application today.
Can’t join us in person? Learn about our virtual volunteer opportunities with the Freedmen’s Bureau Project.
Jennifer Dubina is a visitor services specialist the National Museum of African American History and Culture and has worked at the museum since 2010. Prior to joining the Smithsonian, she worked as a park ranger for the National Park Service and studied public history at American University.
Posted: 10 December 2015