Michigan History Center Volunteer Program/Docent Guild

A volunteer (far right) interacts with visitors in the Pre-Contact gallery.

How can I get involved?
What qualifications do I need?
How do I get started?
What are the training requirements?
What are the benefits of becoming a volunteer?

The Michigan History Center (MHC) offers volunteer opportunities in key roles such as tour guides, program presenters, gallery assistants, greeters and other services that support the center's mission. MHC volunteers are eligible for a variety of discounts and continuing education as thanks for supporting one of the state's leading history institutions.

How can I get involved?

Become a Volunteer

Volunteers help the center by interacting with visitors and offering general assistance. They make our visitors feel welcomed, engaging them during special programming, events and hands-on activities.

Become a Docent

Docents are volunteers who receive additional training so they can interpret galleries, lead tours and present educational programs. In this way, docents provide visitors with a greater understanding and appreciation of the center's collections and exhibits.

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What qualifications do I need?

Successful candidates for all volunteer categories:

  • Are at least 18 years old; younger volunteers must be accompanied by a parent or guardian
  • Communicate effectively
  • Demonstrate enthusiasm, a positive attitude, good judgment and flexibility
  • Work well independently and in teams
  • Have adequate time available to fulfill their commitment
  • Appreciate history
Volunteers must be able to communicate effectively with people of diverse interests, backgrounds and ages. They should be willing to accept new challenges and to seek out information to answer visitor questions and satisfy their own curiosity.

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How do I get started?

Potential volunteers will need to:

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What are the training requirements?

Candidates are asked to attend the following training sessions:

Initial Volunteer Orientation (all applicants)

Attendance at volunteer orientation is mandatory for all MHC volunteers. In this session, volunteers will learn about:
  • the MHC's history and mission
  • emergency procedures
  • key staff members
  • expectations
  • etiquette for all volunteers
  • benefits of volunteering
  • steps for continuing as a volunteer and information on becoming a docent
See the current training schedule.

Docent Group Sessions

Docents receive more intensive training so that they are comfortable and prepared to present programs, lead tours and talk about galleries. A series of four group learning sessions is required to begin the docent training process. The series is offered twice a year; each session lasts about two hours. For each session, trainee docents will receive an outline of material covered as well as suggestions for further reading. Some sessions may also involve brief homework assignments. The sessions provide information on the museum's galleries, educational programs, education theory and presentation techniques.

See the current training schedule.

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What are the benefits of becoming a volunteer?

As a volunteer, you will enjoy:

  • The satisfaction of learning and sharing knowledge
  • Meeting other people who share your interests
  • Learning about the work that happens behind the scenes at the Michigan History Center
  • A 10% discount at the Museum Store
  • Free parking at the Michigan History Center, anytime you volunteer
  • Educational training sessions
  • Minimal or no cost opportunities for onsite studies and field trips to enhance knowledge in historical subjects
After 100 hours of service, you will receive:
  • A free Household Membership to the Michigan History Museum
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Updated 06/09/2016