The Museum has a number of volunteer opportunities. Learn more about each below.
The blue crew at our Museum's Welcome Centers answers visitors' questions, gives directions and offers advice on how visitors can use their time effectively. If you are a friendly people-person over the age of 16, this might be for you.
The Welcome Center
The Welcome Center is a readily accessible source of information — with a personal touch — for every visitor at the National Air and Space Museum. Our mission is to ensure that each visitor’s experience at the Museum is enjoyable. Volunteers answer questions, give directions, and offer advice on how visitors might use their time at the Museum effectively. Our minimum requirement is 50 hours per year for students and 100 hours per year for adults.
* Volunteer appointment for applicants 18 years and older will be subject to the applicant's successful completion of a pre-appointment background check and subsequent background investigation.
There are opportunities to volunteer behind-the-scenes at the National Air and Space Museum, as well as at other Smithsonian Museums. Opportunities include working in archives, libraries, administrative offices, conservation laboratories, and curatorial divisions related to art, history, and science collections. Placements are determined by matching volunteer qualifications, knowledge, interests, and availability with project requirements.
Find out more about additional Smithsonian behind-the-scenes volunteer opportunities.
Docent Tour Guides
All guided-tours at the Museum are conducted by docents (volunteer guides). If you are passionate about air and space, especially if you speak multiple languages, including sign language, we'd love to hear from you.
Many of our docents have a background in aeronautics or space exploration, but those who do not have a love for the subject. Whether you are an enthusiast or an expert, all new docents receive rigorous training on the Museum’s artifacts, galleries, and research areas as well as on techniques for conducting effective tours. Docent candidates must complete 11 weeks of training and agree to a two-year commitment to the program. Docents are given scheduled shifts with a minimum of eight hours per month.
The next docent training class has not yet been scheduled, but check back here for updates.
Join Our Education Team
The Museum offers several educational programs that are staffed primarily by volunteers.
We are looking for volunteers to lead children along a literary journey to Mars, tell them about Lisa the bunny's first airplane trip, and share in their excitement as they experience the Wright brothers' first flight. If you have a good speaking voice and experience working with young children, we would like to talk to you! Previous storytelling experience is not required. We will teach you how to use props and engage in dramatic play and movement. Volunteers are needed weekday mornings, and Saturday mornings and afternoons. You must be at least 16 years old to volunteer. For more information please contact Diane Kidd, (202) 633-2546.
Phoebe Waterman Haas Public Observatory
This opportunity is only available at the Washington, DC location of the National Air and Space Museum.
Volunteers engage visitors in observing the Sun, Moon, and planets through telescopes at the Phoebe Waterman Haas Public Observatory. On days when it's cloudy, Observatory volunteers interact with visitors at Discovery Stations inside the Museum. Your training will include how to facilitate inquiry-based learning in museums, how to use telescopes, and how to communicate about astronomy with the public. Volunteers are needed weekdays, weekends, and occasional evenings. You must be at least 16 years old to volunteer. For more information, email or call (202) 633-2517.
Student Jobs — Explainers Program
Students interested in a paid position at the National Air and Space Museum are encouraged to apply for the Explainers Program. Explainers inspire life-long learners by connecting them to our iconic artifacts and stories about the science and technology that make innovation possible. The Explainers Program hires high school and college students to help visitors better understand the Museum's artifacts and exhibitions through hands-on programming. Explainers also engage visitors on the How Things Fly website. There's even the chance to teach people how to fly an airplane or operate a space shuttle toilet! Explainers can work at either the Museum in DC or at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia.
We are looking for volunteers to facilitate our STEAM Labs. If you have teaching experience and love to get kids excited about the science behind aviation and aerospace we need you! Don’t worry if you've only taught one grade level, we will help you adjust your delivery for K-12 students. Volunteers are needed weekday mornings. You must be at least 16 years old to volunteer. For more information please contact Michael Speidel (SpeidelM@si.edu, 703-572-4062).
We are looking for enthusiastic individuals to teach Discovery Stations, interpretation stations for visitors of all ages. Volunteers engage visitors in hands-on exploration of artifacts and teaching materials related to five general subject areas: commercial aviation, space history, astronomy, planetary geology, and the invention of powered, human-controlled flight. You must be 16 years old to volunteer.
For more information please contact Jennifer McIntosh, (703) 572-4113.