- Get Involved
Smithsonian Digital Volunteers at a Wikipedia Editathon
The Smithsonian benefits from the work of thousands of passionate volunteers who support the organization on-site in our museums, zoo, and other facilities.
Today, digital technology makes it possible for people who believe in the Smithsonian mission to make significant contributions online. "Digital Volunteers" can now take on important assignments to expand access to the Smithsonian's massive collections, and can participate in a variety of research programs. Some roles require special knowledge or skill, but many do not.
Selected opportunities are described below.
Launched in July 2013, the Smithsonian Transcription Center seeks to engage the public in making our collections more accessible. Digital volunteers are invited to transcribe historic documents including diaries and working papers of prominent Americans and records associated with the Smithsonian's vast scientific collections. Transcription makes these important materials more accessible to researchers around the world, as well as the general public.
To date, hundreds of digital volunteers have come to the Transcription Center and engaged with the wide array of documents posted there by Smithsonian archivists and curators—from field notebooks surveying snakes and reptiles in South Dakota in 1894 to the diaries of Leo Baekeland, the American chemist and founder of the modern plastics industry.
To learn more about this opportunity and get involved as a digital volunteer, visit the Smithsonian Transcription Center.
The Smithsonian seeks volunteers to assist in contributing Wikipedia content related to its collections and topic areas. Improving the quality and quantity of information on Wikipedia, as well as usage of Smithsonian resources on the site, will help the Institution fulfill its mission to increase and diffuse knowledge.
The Wikipedian Volunteer Program seeks experienced and motivated individuals with Wikipedia editing experience or a willingness to acquire editing skills. Participation may be entirely online through the Smithsonian Institution's WikiProject, where organizational priorities will be listed and resources provided for editors. In addition, Smithsonian staff may issue calls for volunteers to carry out specific assignments either remotely or on-site at one of our museums or other facilities.
To sign up to be a Wikipedian volunteer for the Smithsonian, visit our portal for Wikipedia volunteers.
The National Postal Museum (NPM) has more than 6 million stamps and other materials in its collections, and these items are made accessible to the public via the NPM’s Arago system.
To produce the rich historic descriptions posted on Arago, NPM curators have been aided by almost 200 volunteer researchers, most of whom work remotely. If you have special knowledge of philately or postal operations, please consider contributing your expertise to the Museum.
To learn more, visit the Arago Volunteer Researcher Program.