Return to Previous Page

Volunteering

The Museum has a strong tradition of support from volunteers of all ages. Currently, there are approximately 500 volunteers from all over the community working in nearly every department at the Museum, providing services to visitors and assisting the professional staff behind the scenes. It is an ideal way to make new friends while getting to know the inner workings of one of the nation's premier cultural institutions. For specific volunteer opportunities, such as the Museum Guide Program, Park and House Guide Program, Departmental Volunteer Program and Membership Volunteer Program, click on the links to the right.

Museum Guide Program

Serve as a vital source of information on the Museum's rich collections.

The Program
Museum Guides serve as a vital source of information, conducting daily tours of both the collections and selected special exhibitions. These tours are provided to diverse audiences, including people with disabilities and school groups. Admission to the Weekday Guide Program requires a two-year training commitment.

The Application Process
A limited number of applicants are accepted for each training period. Previous experience with art, art history, or public speaking is desirable but not required. In addition to the written application and cover letter an interview with the Executive Board members of the Museum Guides is required of all applicants.

The Training
Museum Guide candidates attend weekly training sessions for two years on art appreciation, art history, the Museum's collections and the skills associated with guiding. These sessions are conducted by the Division of Education and the Museum's curatorial staff and experienced guides. Once training is completed, candidates serve as intern Museum Guides for one year, honing their tours and staffing the Museum Information Desks.

Qualifications
  • Excellent communication skills
  • Able to adapt to changes and to work well with the public
  • Keen interest in learning and ability to conduct independent research
  • Ability to work in a dynamic environment with visitors of all age and abilities, Museum staff and volunteers from diverse backgrounds
  • Well-prepared, dependable and punctual

The Requirements
  • Serve a minimum number of hours each year by both conducting tours and staffing the Information Desks
  • Participate in continuing education programs each year
  • Possess basic computer skills
  • Have a valid email address with reliable access to the internet
  • Agree to become a member of the Philadelphia Museum of Art and keep that membership current during tenure as a Volunteer
  • Successful completion of a criminal background check

Physical Requirements
  • Be able to conduct one-hour tours and navigate a large building with multiple floors
  • Conduct a one hour tour without using of notes


Park and House Guide Program

Increase awareness of the historical treasures of the Park Houses while educating guests about early Pennsylvania history.

The Program
Park and House Guides are responsible for conducting tours through Fairmount Park and its fully restored historic houses as well as walking tours of the exterior of the Philadelphia Museum of Art and its surrounding historic and artistic sites. Guides may participate in a number of different programs that engage diverse audiences, such as families, school children, bus groups and other specialty-interest groups, as well as general Museum visitors. As Museum-trained volunteers, their mission includes increasing awareness of the historical treasures of the Fairmount Park Houses; educating guests about early Philadelphia and Pennsylvania history; and, introducing the public to the wonderful resources of Fairmount Park.

The Application Process
A limited number of applicants are accepted for each training period. Previous experience with history, art, or public speaking is desirable but not required. In addition to the written application and cover letter an interview with Executive Board members of the Park and House Guides is required of all applicants.

The Training
Park and House Guides will train on Saturdays for an 18 month period. These trainings are led by the Site Manager for Historic Sites and by, members of the Division of Education and Public Programs, curatorial staff, and experienced Guides. The program combines the general study of the following content and techniques:
  • General Philadelphia history from the 17th through the 20th centuries
  • Philadelphia architecture of the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries.
  • Specialized and comprehensive emphasis of the history and architecture of the historic houses of Fairmount Park, the Park itself, the Museum building, and the Perelman building.
  • Furniture and decorative arts of the 18th and 19th centuries and public sculpture of the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries.
  • Interpretive techniques for designing tours and engaging visitors

Qualifications
  • Excellent communication skills
  • Ability to adapt to changes and to work well with the public
  • Keen interest in learning and ability to conduct independent research
  • Ability to work in a dynamic environment with visitors of all ages and abilities, Museum staff and volunteers from diverse backgrounds
  • Well-prepared, dependable and punctual

The Requirements
The Park and House Guide candidates must be able to:
  • Attend weekly Saturday training sessions for 18 months
  • Serve a minimum number of hours each year by giving tours
  • Participate in continuing education programs each year
  • Possess basic computer skills
  • Have a valid email address with reliable access to the internet
  • Intend to make a three year commitment of service upon successful completion of training
  • Must be available to volunteer weekends
  • Agree to become a member of the Philadelphia Museum of Art and keep that membership current during tenure as a Guide
  • Successful completion of a criminal background check

Following their completion of the training program, Park and House Guides maintain and expand their knowledge through a continuing education program.

Physical Requirements
  • Be able to conduct one-hour tours and navigate staircases in historic houses, and lead moderate walking outdoor tours. Conduct a one hour tour without using notes.
  • Be able to project voice and hear others while working in areas with some ambient noise.


Departmental Volunteer Program

Assist administrative and curatorial departments with assignments that range from research and cataloguing to clerical work.

The Program
Departmental Volunteers assist administrative and curatorial departments throughout the Museum with assignments that range from research and cataloguing to clerical work.

Placements are made when there is a departmental request for a specific project. Opportunities are available during the week (and occasionally weekends) on a one-time, one-project, or ongoing basis. A personal interview with the Volunteer Placement Coordinator is required. Due to the large volume of applicants, a resource file of prospective volunteers is maintained should departmental needs arise.


Membership Volunteer Program

Serve as a liaison between Membership and Visitor Services and Museum members.

The Program
The Membership Volunteers are dedicated to providing exceptional, responsive and empathetic service to all Museum visitors which enhances the visitor experience and encourages them to expand their involvement with the Museum.

Volunteers staff the Membership Desks Tuesday through Sunday, serving three-hour shifts approximately two to three times per month. Duties include selling memberships and renewals and assisting members and visitors with information regarding the Museum, membership programs and events.

The Application Process
A limited number of applicants are accepted for each Membership Volunteer trainee class when the need arises. In addition to the written application and cover letter an interview with Visitor Services Staff and a Membership Volunteer representative is required of all applicants.

The Training
Members of The Membership Volunteer Trainee Class must attend 2 Saturday training sessions in April. These sessions are conducted by Visitor and Membership Services in conjunction with Volunteer Services. After successfully completing this training, Membership Volunteer Trainees serve as interns for six months, with veteran volunteers as mentors. Training classes are run on an as needed basis.

Qualifications
  • Excellent Communication Skills and Pleasant Welcoming Manner
  • Able to adapt to changes and work well with the public
  • Ability to work in a dynamic environment with visitors of all ages and abilities, Museum staff and volunteers of diverse backgrounds
  • Well prepared and punctual

The Requirements
  • Serve a minimum number of hours staffing the information desks
  • Participate in ongoing continuing Education Program and Evaluation Process
  • Possess basic computer skills and have a valid email address with reliable access to the internet
  • Agree to become a member of the Philadelphia Museum of Art and keep that membership current during the tenure as a volunteer
  • Successful completion of a criminal background check

Physical Requirements
  • Be able to hear visitors and respond in a clear and audible voice in an area with significant ambient noise levels.
  • Ability to greet and usher visitors for a three hour shift
  • Ability to understand and communicate Membership benefits and assist in the sale and renewal of PMA Memberships



How to Apply
Prospective volunteers must submit a cover letter and completed application form. Applications may be downloaded below. The receipt of your application will be acknowledged. Please return the application and cover letter to:

Philadelphia Museum of Art Volunteer Services Department
P.O. Box 7646
Philadelphia, PA 19101-7646

Tel.: 215-684-7920
Fax: 215-236-5315

Download a Copy of the Application
Adobe Acrobat Reader is required to view and print this PDF file.

View and print the Volunteer Application. [33 KB]

If you are unable to download the application, contact Volunteer Services and request that it be sent to you via regular mail.

Return to Previous Page