Get Involved

Docent talking to a seated a group of people


If you love art and history and want to share your enthusiasm with the public, consider becoming a National Portrait Gallery volunteer.

Volunteer docent giving a tour


Phone: (202) 633-8500

Mailing Address:
Office of Education
National Portrait Gallery
P.O. Box 37012
Washington, D.C. 20013-0712

Volunteer Docent Opportunities

Are you interested in American history? Do you like meeting new people?

Do you know that the National Portrait Gallery tells the country’s story through the diverse people who have made significant contributions to American history and culture?

Have you ever wondered how many portraits are in the National Portrait Gallery’s collection?

If we have piqued your curiosity and thirst for knowledge, then the National Portrait Gallery would love to hear from you! We are seeking a vibrant, diverse group of volunteers to work with visitors in our galleries. The only prerequisite is an enthusiasm for sharing knowledge and working with people! As a docent, you will be trained to lead tours and facilitate in-gallery experiences.  

Volunteer hours may include a mix of weekday, weekend, and evening hours. The eight-week training session will be held on Tuesdays beginning sometime in March 2016, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Training will cover content, resources, technique, and other important topics.

Please join us in telling the story of our nation’s history through portraits. Contact for an application and more information.

Youth and Family Program Volunteer Opportunities

The National Portrait Gallery is seeking volunteers to assist youth and family program staff with the facilitation of hands-on activities during Family Days. Volunteers are vital to the success of our exciting interactive programs. This is also a great opportunity for middle and high school students who need to earn community service hours.

Senior Girl Scouts are welcome to participate in order to fulfill federal service hours toward their Silver Trefoil Award. Check our Family Day offerings to find out about upcoming events.

  • Must be mature, reliable, responsible, and punctual.
  • Prior experience with families or other small groups of various age ranges preferred.
  • Interest in assisting visitors during their museum experience.
  • Strong verbal communication skills.
  • Ability to think on your feet.
  • Flexibility in schedule to work on weekends (typically on Saturdays).
  • Ability to work well in a team environment, in both following directions and disseminating materials to visitors.
  • Familiarity with biography, history, and object-based learning a plus.
  • Reports to Youth and Family Program Coordinator upon arrival for shift.
  • Assists with the setup , breakdown, and clean-up of hands-on activities materials.
  • Works with visitors of various age groups in giving instructions and guidance with hands-on activities.
  • Notifies Youth and Family Program Coordinator when supplies run low.

Please contact for more information about volunteering for our youth and family programs.