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.
Smithsonian Transcription Center
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.
Smithsonian Wikipedian Volunteer Program
The Smithsonian seeks digital volunteers to assist in contributing content to Wikipedia related to our collections and areas of expertise. Improving the quality and quantity of reliable information on Wikipedia, as well as usage of Smithsonian resources on the site, helps meet our mission, the "increase and diffusion of knowledge." We seek experienced and motivated Wikipedia editors who are technically proficient in both the software and the norms of the Wikimedia community. To find out more about how to become a Wikipedia volunteer for the Smithsonian, visit the Smithsonian Institution's WikiProject.
National Postal Museum Volunteer Researcher Program
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.