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Become a Docent

Whether behind the scenes, in the art studios, or on tour in the galleries, our docents are an integral part of the museum experience and are vital to the development and implementation of all educational tours and programming at Telfair Museums.

Volunteer docents serve as Telfair’s most visible and important public ambassadors, conducting tours and welcoming local and out-of-town visitors. All that is required is a love for art and enthusiasm for meeting new people every day. Don’t know a lot about art? Don’t worry! Through training sessions and special talks led by curators and artists, the knowledge you gain just might surprise you.

Docents have the unique opportunity to actively participate in and promote the arts in the community by introducing residents and visitors to Telfair’s exceptional permanent collection, exciting special exhibitions, educational programs, and three unique buildings. After completion of a six-month training program, docents are asked to commit to a minimum of two years of active volunteer docent service. The initial docent training course is held every fall. Museum staff and guest speakers lead lectures and gallery talks about Telfair’s history, collections and architecture, touring techniques, and general art history. Additional docent training for special exhibits is held throughout the year.

Volunteer at Telfair Museums

  • Volunteers are vital to the success of Telfair Museums and greatly enhance our visitors’ experience at the Telfair Academy, Jepson Center for the Arts, and Owens-Thomas House & Slave Quarters.
  • Volunteer hours are flexible. Shifts last 2-4 hours or more, depending on your schedule.
  • Telfair volunteers learn about art and artists, enjoy a creative atmosphere, meet interesting people, and, of course, have fun.
  • Open to anyone 16 and older

Download a Volunteer Application (PDF)

Volunteer Opportunities

Front Desk Volunteers greet and welcome visitors, sell museum tickets, answer questions, and direct visitors to galleries and exhibits. Volunteers should be knowledgeable about current and upcoming exhibitions, programs, and events in the three museum buildings.

Volunteer Office Assistants support museum staff with general office work in various departments such as marketing, membership, development, curatorial, and education. Duties may include filing, computer data entry, mailings, and assistance with projects or research. Computer skills are helpful, as well as accounting, marketing, and design experience for some positions.

Store Volunteers provide friendly customer service and assist in daily sales transactions. Volunteers help with packing and unpacking merchandise, and operate the point of sale system, telephone, and calculator. Retail volunteers will gain knowledge of inventory and back stock and help manage the sales floor at the Jepson Center and Owens-Thomas House & Slave Quarters.

Special projects or research opportunities are available in many departments. The museum staff is happy to train volunteers who are interested in learning about art-related projects and the functioning of an art museum.

Library volunteers help catalog, sort, and manage the reference library in the Jepson Center, which is used by members and staff. Volunteers must have knowledge of Library of Congress cataloging methods.

Volunteer photographers document exhibits, programs, and events for promotional materials, newsletters, website, auction catalogs, and other event-related publications, as well as media/press releases and archival records.

Volunteers help promote museum memberships and benefits at museum exhibition openings, receptions, and other special events. Membership volunteers staff membership and information tables and will be well versed in the various membership levels and benefits they provide. Volunteers should be outgoing and enjoy meeting and talking with the public and museum members.

 

The museum has several major fundraising events each year. Special Events Volunteers help with event planning, preparations, setup, and cleanup. A wide variety of skills and talents are needed to conduct successful fundraisers that support the museum, education programs, and collections. Volunteers are called upon to help with marketing promotions, clerical tasks, mailings, and hands-on help during the events.

Youth Art Volunteers assist with children’s studio art classes. Classes are offered year-round, including such programs as Third Thursdays for toddlers, First Saturdays for kids, high school programming, and our popular summer camp programs. Volunteers for these roles must be comfortable working with children.

Volunteer Gardeners maintain the formal gardens, weeding, pruning, transplanting, and watering with other volunteers who have green thumbs and an interest in horticulture. Gardeners work in groups on seasonal projects and individually year round.

These volunteers will assist curators and preparators in galleries and behind the scenes. Desirable skills and experience include basic matting skills, experience handling art and installing artwork and sculpture, and collection management experience. Volunteers will be trained and work with staff supervision.

For more information or to apply for a volunteer position, please call 912.790.8827.