Thank you for your interest in volunteering at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. Volunteering your time and talents is a powerful way to change the world and change your life. Add yourself to a growing list of people who care about their communities by volunteering for an organization that supports the community and preserves our history.
Our list of volunteer opportunities changes frequently. Please visit this site often to find the opportunity/project that suits your interests and schedule. We want your time at the Historical Society to be fulfilling.
If you believe one of these positions would be right for you, please send an e-mail to the contact listed below, stating your skills, hours available to volunteer per week, and your time commitment (a few weeks, months, etc.). One of the staff members will respond. Thank you for considering volunteering at HSP.
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Digital Services Volunteer
The Digital Services department at HSP is seeking volunteers interesting in digitizing archival and library materials, in support of digital curation projects and our Rights and Reproductions service. Volunteers would perform digital image capture, conversion, and preservation of historic archival and library material, using a variety of equipment and software. Volunteers will also help deliver requested materials to Rights and Reproductions customers, and assign descriptive and technical metadata to digitized materials in HSP’s digital asset management system, to facilitate digital collections access and preservation. If you like attention to detail and are interested in making our collections available online, please contact Caroline Hayden at email@example.com.
- Interest in archives, libraries, digital preservation and/or rights management
- Some familiarity with photography or scanning equipment, as well as Adobe Photoshop and file transfer tools
- Some familiarity with databases, content management systems, and metadata a plus
- Highly organized, and able to manage multiple tasks
- Ability to work independently and collaboratively, with both onsite and remote people
- Some customer service experience a plus
- Must be able to lift items up to 40lbs
Genealogical & Biographical Database Volunteer
The Research Department is always looking for someone interested in history to help input information into its Genealogical & Biographical Database. This would involve transcribing hand-written ledgers or documents into a structured database. If you like detail and are good at deciphering 18th- and 19th-century script, please contact David Haugaard at 215-732-6200 x219 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Archives Department periodically has openings for volunteers to help improve access to its manuscript and graphic collections. Tasks may include creating inventories or collection guides, rehousing or organizing collection materials, data entry, etc. If you like attention to detail and don’t mind getting a little dusty, please contact Cary Hutto at 215-732-6200 x307 or email@example.com. HSP’s Archives department is not currently in need of volunteers. Please check back for openings at a later time.
The Stacks Department is seeking a volunteer to assist a few hours a week. Duties include, but are not limited to; learning the collections to answer email queries, assist searching for missing items, and enter shelf list data. Most volunteers work 2-3 hours a week, however volunteers are welcome to work longer. If interested, please contact Steven Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Working with the Public
Ready Reference Volunteer
The Research Department is looking for volunteers to help with our Ready Reference inquiries. Tasks may include taking down requests from a voice mail “reference line” or even staffing that line live. In either case, volunteers would work closely with the Reference Staff to best determine how to reply to patrons’ needs. If you like people and dealing with mysteries (just where is Mrs. Schmeckdorf’s Aunt Edna buried?), please contact David Haugaard at 215-732-6200 x219 or email@example.com.
Education Facilitators support the delivery of HSP's education programs and are integral in contributing to HSP's mission to make history relevant and exhilarating. As an Education Facilitator, you will receive extensive training on how to effectively lead stations during field trips from visiting schools. Each volunteer receives background material to study, and support to successfully lead a document-based learning experience. HSP hosts field trips Monday through Thursday, generally in the mornings. This is an excellent opportunity for someone with a background or interest in education and who is comfortable dealing with students from 4th to 12th grade.
More information and how to apply can be found here.
Student Mentor Volunteer
Student Mentors work with students during after-school hours Tuesday through Friday (2:30-5:30 p.m.) to provide one-on-one mentoring in the research process. Students in the 6th to 12th grades come in to HSP to conduct research for social studies papers or for National History Day projects. Student Mentors receive full training in how to conduct research in HSP’s library and archives and assist students during after-school hours.
More information and how to apply can be found here.