Jobs, Internships & Volunteering Opportunities

Washington, DC Area Volunteer Opportunities

Develop your love of history, learn about archival work, and help the public uncover the past by becoming a volunteer at the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). You can help our federal agency accomplish its mission by assisting with archival projects behind the scenes or assisting with education and public programs, including giving tours. The volunteer projects in College Park are more centered on digitization, whereas the volunteer activities in Washington, DC focus on the museum. 

Our volunteers value being actively engaged in learning, giving, researching, and teaching; the diverse volunteer corps ranges from high school seniors to active retired seniors. Volunteers at the National Archives say that they come to volunteer because they enjoy history, but they stay because of the friends they make.

Comprehensive training is given to all volunteers, who are expected to commit to a minimum of 100 service hours per year. 

Volunteer placement is not guaranteed. Application materials are reviewed to determine if there are open volunteer opportunities that match skills. When a possible match is found, an applicant is contacted for an interview.

Opportunities for volunteer service in the Washington, DC area include: The National Archives Museum in Washington, DC, and the National Archives at College Park, Maryland.

Join the National Archives Volunteer Corps!

Volunteer Opportunities

Select a location to learn more about available opportunities:

Washington, DC Volunteer Opportunities

Volunteers play essential roles in sharing the holdings, exhibits, research, and educational programming of the National Archives with the public. We are always on the lookout for dynamic, curious individuals who want to be a part of the National Archives volunteer team.  Times to volunteer are varied, including weekday, weekend, and evening hours.

Volunteer activities include:

Learning Labs

Volunteers assist with document-based research and analysis simulations, helping to connect students with the history and primary source documents found in the holdings of the National Archives in hopes of inspiring students to continue to learn and discover and become stewards of our nation’s history.  Learning lab audiences consist primarily of students, teachers, and chaperones with occasional adult learners or families.  Requires flexibility to ever-changing situations and comfort speaking in public and working with diverse groups of people.  Labs are run Tuesday through Thursday.

ReSource Room

Facilitate meaningful visitor experiences by helping a diverse group of visitors engage in inquiry-based discovery using games, facsimiles of records, and other hands-on activities designed to encourage interest in the primary sources, research, and investigation.  Assist with daily facility operations by getting the ReSource Room space and hands-on activities ready for visitor use and help with some routine maintenance.  Requires flexibility to ever-changing situations and comfort speaking in public and working with diverse groups of people.  Weekend shifts available.

Education Programs

Lead hands-on activities during special-themed days in the Boeing Learning Center by introducing the great variety of records in the National Archives in new ways to the public.  Volunteers assist with Family Days, the Archives Sleepover, the 4th of July, and much more.  Requires strong interpersonal skills while working with diverse audiences, age groups, and learning styles.  Volunteers must be able to handle frequent walking and standing.  


Introduce the general public to the priceless holdings of the National Archives by giving highlights tours, assisting visitors in the exhibits, and facilitating hands-on activities.  Requires an interest in American history and government and strong interpersonal skills while working with diverse audiences, age groups, and learning styles.  Volunteers must be able to handle frequent walking and standing. 

Visitor Services

Help the public get the most out of their visits by welcoming groups and providing an introduction to the National Archives Museum, circulating throughout the Museum’s public zones to answer questions and facilitating meaningful visitor experiences, and directing visitors to programs and exhibitions of interest.  Volunteers also help guests find their way at lectures and seminars, film screenings, exhibit openings, and a variety of other special events.  Requires an outgoing personality, an interest in the National Archives programs, a flexible schedule, and the ability to handle frequent walking and standing.


Assist genealogy researchers in our research facility. This may include conducting research on Ancestry, Fold3, or the NARA catalog. Requires attention to detail, knowledge of genealogy and historical research - specifically with online genealogy research programs, and excellent communication and interpersonal skills, especially patience and understanding when working with the public and novice researchers.

Program Support

Volunteers with special skills or expertise are welcome to help out in various other ways, including office support/administration.

Ready to apply? Start your application

College Park, MD Volunteer Opportunities

Volunteers work behind the scenes with historically valuable records of the federal government. Volunteers may also work with the public, giving tours or assisting with education programs. Opportunities for volunteering are available Monday through Friday, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.

Volunteer activities include:

Archival Projects 

Prepare records for digitization following NARA standards for basic preservation and holdings maintenance. Scan textual and special media records and create metadata using NARA standards. Write descriptions. Transcribe photo captions and finding aids. Prepare finding aids. Requires careful attention to detail, computer skills, and teamwork.

Education Projects

Conduct research to develop content for educational materials. Assist with developing workshops and webinars. Write blog posts to make NARA primary sources discoverable to researchers, including educators and students. Create classroom activities for DocsTeach. Experience in teaching or museum education is helpful.


Volunteers lead behind-the-scenes tours, giving visitors a better understanding of NARA’s mission as well as highlighting the holdings and operations at our College Park facility.  Excellent interpersonal and communication skills required.

Program Support

Volunteers with special skills or expertise are welcome to help out in various other ways, including office support/administration.

Ready to apply? Start your application

What are the Benefits?

Volunteers enjoy numerous benefits at the National Archives:

  • Working and socializing with a diverse and fun group of people who have a passion for history
  • Regular continuing learning opportunities in U.S. history and civics education, museum engagement, and archival practices
  • Access to the exhibits at the National Archives Museum
  • Annual recognition events
  • Discounts at the gift shop 

What is Required to Volunteer at the National Archives?

Whether you are an active retiree with professional expertise, a student seeking to build your resume, or someone in the workforce looking for something rewarding to do, volunteering at the National Archives requires the following:

  • 16 years of age or older
  • Reside in the United States and be fluent in written and spoken English
  • Successfully pass a federal background check
  • Reliability to keep one’s volunteer commitment of a minimum of 100 service hours per year 
  • Attention to detail
  • Open-mindedness and patience to work collaboratively with diverse NARA staff, fellow volunteers, and visitors to achieve organizational goals
  • Knowledge of  U.S. political and social history and an interest in lifelong learning 

How to Become a NARA Volunteer

If you are 16 and older and decide to become a volunteer, you can expect to go through the following process:

  1. Complete a DC volunteer application or a College Park volunteer application

  2. Participate in an interview with the volunteer program coordinator

  3. Volunteers complete a hybrid in-person and virtual training program of approximately 16 hours

  4. Complete an online personal and professional history form for a federal background check

  5. Provide two forms of ID in order to obtain a NARA ID

Once new volunteers receive a NARA ID, the volunteer program coordinator will work with the volunteer to match them with available projects and recommend the volunteer to a project supervisor. After the volunteer, project supervisor, and volunteer program coordinator meet, and if they agree the match is a good one, supervisors will provide specific instructions for the project and additional training information.

How to Download and Complete the Volunteer Application Form

  1. Save the Form (DC volunteer application or a College Park volunteer application) to Your Computer:

  2. Do one of the following in the Apply section:

  3. Use your mouse to right-click the form link then select "Save Target/Link As..." from the menu that appears.

  4. Open the form and save the form to your computer by selecting File / Save As.

Note the filename and where you saved the file.

  1. Open the File on Your Computer:
    Locate the file on your computer and open the file using Adobe Reader.

  2. Fill Out the Form:
    Enter the appropriate data in each box or field. To move from one field to the next, press the Tab key. You can also use your cursor to move from field to field. Place your cursor in the field you want to fill in, then left-click. Some fields limit the maximum number of characters you can enter and may automatically advance to the next field. Save the Filled Out Form.

  3. You may submit the form using any of the following methods:

  • Attach the file to an e-mail
  • Print the form and fax it
  • Mail the form

If you require an accessible version of the Volunteer Application form or have any other questions, please contact the Volunteer Program Coordinator at (202) 357-5272.


Contact at the Washington, DC location:

Volunteer Program Coordinator

The National Archives and Records Administration

700 Pennsylvania Ave., Room G9

Washington, DC 20408

Phone: (202) 357-5272

Fax: (202) 357-5925


Contact at the College Park location:

Volunteer Program Coordinator

The National Archives at College Park

8610 Adelphi Road

College Park, MD 20740-6001

Phone: (301) 837-3002

Fax: (301) 837-3603 

Frequently Asked Questions

May I volunteer at both buildings in the Washington, DC, area?

Yes! Complete only one application and send it to the location at which you would like to spend most of your volunteer hours. Discuss the options during the interview.

Are there other ways to get involved as a volunteer?

Yes! Citizen Archivist Missions provide opportunities for tagging and transcribing NARA records to make them more accessible.

Will I have to go through a background check?

Yes! The National Archives is a Federal agency.

What is the minimum age for volunteering?


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