Volunteer at the State Indian Museum
Are you interested in Native California culture? Are you looking for a fun and unique way to give something back to your community? Do you enjoy working with people of all ages? If you answered “yes” and are at least 18 years old you are eligible to apply for a volunteer job at the California State Indian Museum.
Volunteers at the State Indian Museum interpret the material and cultural world of Native Californians. They welcome visitors from all over the world and work with school children in our community. They also assist with annual events such as Honored Elders Day and our Arts and Crafts Markets. Volunteers are important to the enjoyment and education of our visitors. Becoming part of our volunteer program is an exciting and rewarding experience!
What is a docent?
Docents are highly trained volunteers who interpret the cultural, natural, and recreational resources for visitors. One of the most rewarding and challenging aspects of being a docent is the opportunity for ongoing education, much of which cannot be obtained elsewhere. Because docents are trained to enhance the educational experience of visitors, they provide a valuable service to tourists and school children alike. Each docent is encouraged to add his or her own unique and individual approach and experiences when interacting with our visitors.
Whether you know very little or a lot about Native culture and history, you will have the opportunity to learn more and share your knowledge with our visitors. To help you feel comfortable with this complex subject, special training is provided. In addition, the State Indian Museum has a reference library and staff available on an ongoing basis for continued learning. Periodic field trips to Native events and culture sites provide additional experience; there are also fun and educational social events scheduled throughout the year.
What is required to become a docent?
• A positive, enthusiastic attitude about history and people
• Willingness to share your skills and knowledge with visitors
• To volunteer a minimum of seven hours per month
What do State Indian Museum docents do?
• Answer questions and assist with interpretation of artifacts and photographs
• Demonstrate Native skills and participate in skills activities
• Assist with special events
• Conduct research and coordinate special projects
• Interpret exhibits based on group interest and inquiry
• Provide a brief overview and expectations of group behavior while visiting the California State Indian Museum
• Assist teachers with interpreting elements of Native culture for their classes
• Assist with registration, traffic control, and help to ensure the comfort and enjoyment of our visitors
• Demonstrate and teach Native arts and crafts skills. Assist with set-up, clean-up, entrance fee collection, etc
• Greet visitors, answer questions
• Help to revitalize the State Indian Museum library; building and maintaining outdoor structures, preparing interpretive materials for special events, and cataloging hands-on materials
Docent training includes:
• A comprehensive study of the California Native history and culture
• An in-depth study of the art of interpretation
• 26 hours of free training on Native culture, history, and contemporary issues
• A State Parks Volunteer badge upon training course graduation
• Discount at the Sacramento Historic Sites Association gift shop located inside the museum
• Volunteer hour pins and passes are earned based on number of hours worked
• Social activities and field trips
• Chance to meet new and interesting people
• Opportunity to join the Sacramento Historic Sites Association
For more information please contact Volunteer Coordinator, Connie McGough, at (916) 324-8112.
If you want to apply for a