Volunteer at California State Parks
Capital District Museums and State Historic Parks

  • California State Capitol Museum, Sacramento, CA
  • State Indian Museum, Sacramento, CA
  • California State Railroad Museum, Sacramento, CA
  • Leland Stanford Mansion State Historic Park, Sacramento, CA
  • Sutter's Fort State Historic Park, Sacramento, CA

Are you interested in California’s history and 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, backgrounds and national origins? If you answered “yes” and are at least 18 years old you are eligible to apply for a volunteer job with California State Parks.

Volunteers who work for California State Parks interpret California’s material and cultural artifacts. They welcome visitors from all over the world and work with school children in our communities. They also assist with annual events at our State Historic Parks. Becoming a member of our volunteer program is an exciting and rewarding experience that will bring you a lifetime of enjoyment and rewarding experiences.

What is a docent? 
Docents are highly trained volunteers who interpret the cultural, natural, and recreational resources for visitors.  One of the 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 California’s 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, California State Parks staff is available for continued learning opportunities.  Periodic field trips to events and cultural sites provide additional learning experiences; there are also fun and educational social events scheduled throughout the year.

What does it take 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 docents do?

  • Answer questions and assist with interpretation of artifacts and photographs
  • Demonstrate cultural skills and participate in special activities
  • Assist with special events
  • Conduct research and coordinate special projects
  • Interpret exhibits based on group interest and inquiry
  • Demonstrate and teach arts and crafts skills
  • Assist with set-up, clean-up and entrance fee collection
  • Greet visitors and answer questions
  • Preparing interpretive materials for special events
  • Catalog hands-on materials

Docent training includes:

  • A comprehensive study of specific museum history and culture
  • An in-depth study of the art of interpretation skills
  • Mentoring with trained docents

Docent benefits:

  • Free training on museum culture, history, and contemporary issues
  • A State Parks Volunteer badge upon passing the training course
  • Volunteer hour pins and complementary park entrance passes are earned based on number of hours worked
  • Social activities and field trips
  • Chance to meet new and interesting people

How do I become a docent?

  • Complete a State Parks Volunteer Application and send it to the park where you wish to volunteer
  • Successfully complete the volunteer interview process
  • Successfully complete the volunteer training course provided by the State Park where you wish to work

After you complete the volunteer application please send it to the Capital District museum or Historic Park where you wish to volunteer. The volunteer coordinator will contact you with specific details about that park’s volunteer program.

capitol museum volunteers
California State Capitol Museum volunteers tour the Capitol Dome

csrm volunteer
California State Railroad Museum docent is speaking with school children