The National Archives at New York City

Volunteer at the National Archives at New York City

Volunteer Gallery

Develop your love of history, learn about archival work, and help the public uncover the past by becoming a volunteer at the National Archives at New York City.

Our volunteers are our most valuable resource-they help researchers uncover their family histories, preserve and describe our original documents for increased access, share the stories of our documents with visitors, and support the creation of educational programs and exhibits. Our diverse group of volunteers ranges from college students to retired seniors. They value being actively engaged in the learning, researching, and teaching.

What are the Benefits of Volunteering?

Volunteers enjoy numerous benefits at the National Archives at New York City.

  • Working and socializing with a diverse group of people with a passion for history
  • Regular continuing educational opportunities, such as lectures and guest speakers
  • Instruction in education, archival, and reference services
  • Annual recognition events
  • Social gatherings

What is Required to Volunteer at the National Archives at New York City?

Whether you are a retired senior looking to share your interests, a student looking for hands-on experience, or someone looking for a rewarding way to spend your day off, the National Archives requires the following:

  • Attention to detail
  • Dependability
  • Knowledge of and passion for history and archives
  • Ability to work collaboratively with National Archives staff and fellow volunteers
  • Commitment to lifelong learning

Volunteers are also expected to make a minimum commitment of 4 hours per week for a six-month period. While all of our volunteers serve the public, working directly with visitors is not a requirement for all positions.

What are Volunteer positions at the National Archives at New York City?

Volunteers Norma and Susan taking apart and placing docket books in archival folders and boxes.

Positions available in the following areas of interest:

Museum Docents work in our learning center, welcome center, and throughout our exhibit and public spaces. They greet visitors, answer general questions, and provide tours of the National Archives. They inform visitors about current exhibits and educational programs provided by the National Archives. They share their knowledge about National Archives documents, our exhibits, and the architectural features of the Custom House. Required skills include:

  • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills to a variety of audiences.
  • General knowledge of history is beneficial.
  • Willingness and ability to acquire a thorough knowledge of the National Archives records, temporary exhibits and the Alexander Hamilton U.S. Custom House.

Reference Assistants serve visitors in our research room by answering family history related questions about the National Archives documents. They assist visitors using our public access computers, microfilm readers, copiers, and NARA microfilm aids and catalogs. They assist staff with research calls and other general inquiries. Required skills include:

  • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills
  • Patience and understanding when working with novice researchers.
  • Ability to develop a deeper understanding of genealogy and its research.

Archival Assistants serve the public by working on archival projects. This includes preservation and description work on historical Federal records. Your work may involve creating indexes of records; unfolding, flattening, and re-foldering records; arranging and describing records; performing holdings maintenance and other archival projects. Required skills include:

  • Attention to detail
  • Interest in history or archival institutions
  • Basic computer skills

Education Assistants help develop educational resources based on primary sources from the National Archives. They research our records for educational programs, exhibits, and social media platforms. They develop educational materials and workshops using primary source documents. They describe and digitize records for use in educational programs, exhibits and social media. Required skills include:

  • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills to a variety of audiences.
  • General knowledge of history and teaching experience is beneficial.
  • Willingness and ability to acquire a thorough knowledge of the National Archives records, temporary exhibits and the Alexander Hamilton U.S. Custom House

Exhibit Assistants support the National Archives Experience Exhibit program, made possible by a public-private partnership between the National Archives and the Foundation for the National Archives. They assist with exhibit topics, research, help create digital content and related educational and outreach materials.

  • Ability to research
  • Attention to detail
  • Interest in history or archival institutions
  • Basic computer skills

How Do I Become a Volunteer at the National Archives?

Fill out and mail, email, or fax the Volunteer Application Form to the Volunteer Coordinator.

National Archives at New York City
One Bowling Green, 3rd Floor
New York, NY 10004

Toll Free: (866) 840-1752

E-mail: newyork.archives@nara.gov

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The U.S. National Archives and Records Administration
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