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Volunteer Gallery Cart Docent Program at the North Carolina Museum of History

The museum’s volunteer docents are a lively group of history lovers who primarily engage museum visitors with a variety of discovery carts located throughout exhibit galleries. The discovery carts allow docents to engage visitors with hands-on objects related to current exhibitions. Thousands of visitors from near and far benefit from docent-led activities each year, and these interactions foster connections with North Carolina’s history in insightful and meaningful ways.

Recruitment for the fall 2023 docent training class is now closed, but please check back for future volunteer opportunities.

If you enjoy…

  • learning about North Carolina history and culture
  • sharing your love of history with diverse audiences of all ages and backgrounds
  • working in a busy and dynamic environment

If you have…

  • strong people skills
  • a valid email address
  • reached the age of 18*
  • any special skills (ASL; Spanish; working with individuals who have special needs)

If you can…

  • communicate effectively with visitors of all ages, especially K–12 students
  • commit to at least eight hours of gallery cart duty per month after training

The Museum of History is committed to fostering, cultivating, and preserving a culture of diversity and true inclusion. Its volunteer corps, too, offers equal consideration to all applicants and does not discriminate on any basis, including all federally protected employment statuses. We are dedicated to accommodating volunteers, and visitors alike, in order to ensure a diverse and inclusive environment for all.

*Please note: while we do accept a very limited number of high school students (aged 16 and 17) into the docent training program, the opportunity is generally recommended for persons 18 and over.

Duties and Responsibilities

A docent’s first duty is to serve visitors by…

  • interpreting the museum’s collections
  • communicating directly with visitors, including the general public, students, groups, and people with diverse learning styles and abilities
  • maintaining an attitude of respect toward all visitors regardless of race, sex, age, national origin, or physical ability

Program Requirements

All docents must…

  • pass an interview to be accepted into the training program
  • have a valid email address
  • attend a five-month docent training program that consists of a combination of group workshops, online modules, and individualized training. This program will require an average of three to five hours per week.
  • pass evaluations on interpretation of three gallery carts (docents’ choice) at the end of training; passing these interpretations is necessary before docents will be scheduled for shifts in galleries
  • commit to at least eight hours of service per month (cart interpretation shifts are usually about two hours long) after training
  • accept periodic evaluations by the docent coordinator or assistant docent coordinator
  • function at all times within guidelines and procedures of the North Carolina Museum of History


  • digital copies of The Old North State Volunteer, a monthly newsletter published by the Museum of History for all members of the volunteer corps
  • invitations to monthly meetings that provide opportunities for continuing training, hearing guest speakers, and socializing with other docents and volunteers
  • opportunities to take part in excursions to historic and cultural sites in North Carolina, as well as occasional movie nights at the museum and an annual holiday potluck
  • invitation to an annual awards ceremony that recognizes service and dedication

In addition, volunteers who complete 25 service hours per year maintain active status, for which they receive an in-kind membership to the Museum of History Associates, the museum membership group.

Please contact Volunteer Coordinator Kathy Gleditsch at Kathleen.Gleditsch@dncr.nc.gov if you are interested in finding out more about the application process to our docent program and when we will be recruiting.