Washington, DC Area Volunteer Opportunities at the National Archives and Records Administration
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.
Our volunteers value being actively engaged in learning, giving, researching, and teaching; the diverse volunteer corps ranges from high school seniors to 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 one year of service regardless of the volunteer job hour requirement. Hour commitments vary by job, ranging from 20 to 200 hours per year. An exception is made for those who volunteer a large number of hours in a shorter period of time.
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.
Join the National Archives Volunteer Crew!
Volunteers enjoy numerous benefits at the National Archives:
- Access to the exhibits at the National Archives Museum
- Regular continuing educational opportunities and access to education and public programs at the National Archives Museum
- Membership in the National Archives Volunteer Association and its programs, social events, field trips, and newsletter
- Annual recognition events
- Instruction in museum education, processing and reference services, preservation practices, and electronic records
- Discounts at the gift shop
- Working and socializing with a diverse and fun group of people who have a passion for history
Whether you are a retired federal employee with professional expertise, a student seeking to build your resume, or someone active in the workforce looking for something rewarding to do, volunteering at the National Archives requires the following:
- Successfully pass a federal background check
- Attention to detail
- Ability to work collaboratively with NARA staff and fellow volunteers to achieve organizational goals
- Knowledge of, and interest in, U.S. political and social history
- Commitment to lifelong learning, demonstrated by initiative in pursuing additional historical knowledge, and a willingness to participate in training or retraining when needed.
If you are 16 and older and decide to become a volunteer, you can expect to go through the following process:
- Complete a volunteer application
- Participate in an interview with the volunteer program coordinator
- Attend a 2-hour volunteer orientation training with some at home self-guided training required
- Complete an online personal and professional history form for a background check
- Provide two forms of ID in order to obtain a NARA badge and access card
Once new volunteers receive a NARA badge, the volunteer program coordinator will work with the volunteer to match them with available projects and recommends the volunteer to a 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.
Select a location at which you'd like to volunteer: