Job Overview


About the Agency

This position is located in Department of Visitor Services within the National Museum of American History (NMAH). The employee is responsible for creating a strategic plan for recruiting, training, and evaluating docents and other interpretive volunteers; develops or contributes to the development of training materials for volunteers; conducts training sessions; and evaluates volunteer performance.


Recruitment & Training

Identifies recruiting methods to produce a diverse group of applicants and develops a process to interview and select individuals.

Analyzes the future needs and goals of the museums daily programs, the retention rate of current docents, and financial and personnel resources required.

Develops a comprehensive training program including special enrichment lectures, training on the museums collections and exhibitions, and museum interpretation, communication skills, and touring techniques.

He/she independently develops curriculum and training materials for new and continuing docents.

Develops strategies and manages tools to make museum programs accessible to all visitors.

Administration and Communication

Directly supervises all museum docents.

Serves as primary staff liaison between docents and other museum staff.

Provides leadership and guidance to the docent corps, ensuring that volunteers have a strong connection to the Museum and understand its mission.

Develops policies and requirements for docent program.

Develops the master schedule of docent programs, making final decisions regarding the number and variety of docent programs to be offered to support the Museums mission.

Assures docent records document annual training attendance, extended leave, and service hours for each docent in the Smithsonians volunteer database, EVANS.

Regularly communicates with the docents in-person and via phone, email, and mail, providing information about NMAH programs, exhibitions, and procedures and gathering feedback from volunteers. Leads and/or facilitates docent meetings.


Coaches docents to develop their knowledge and skills.

Provides regular feedback to supervisor about efficacy of programs and makes recommendations for changes based on evaluations.

Develops plans for assessing candidate potential for participation in the docent program and for evaluating and monitoring candidates after they have been accepted into the program.

Develops the process and the logistics for evaluating docent performance and the guidelines for presenting programs, presenting complex information, and handling the specialized needs of individuals and groups, which range from visitors with special disabilities to diplomatic dignitaries.

Program Development

Develops new museum programs to support the museums mission.

Stays up-to-date in museum interpretation and makes refinements to existing programs to enhance visitor engagement.

Independently consults with exhibition teams and other Museum offices to make recommendations regarding Visitor Experience, exhibitions and programs during the planning stages, and develops and refines strategies for optimizing visitor experience during periods of peak visitation.

Supervisory Status


Promotion Potential


Travel Required

  • Not Required

Relocation Authorized

  • No

Who May Apply

This job is open to…

This position is open to all U.S. Citizens or U.S. Nationals.
Note: Federal employees with permanent status or individuals eligible for special appointing authorities should apply to Job Announcement #14R-MR-299738-MPA-NMAH.

Questions? This job is open to 1 group.