Be a Volunteer at the Idaho State Historical Society
Idaho State Historical Society (ISHS) volunteers help make history come alive. Volunteers are an active part of the mission of ISHS, providing invaluable resources through educational programs, assisting with daily operations and long-term goals. Volunteering at ISHS provides the opportunity for social and networking through daily interaction and continuing educational benefits through presentations, lectures and demonstrations.
Realizing that volunteers seek a variety of experiences, they may volunteer their time in a myriad of ways. Volunteers are called on to assist patrons with transactions, interpret educational materials to the public, assist museum staff behind-the-scenes with exhibits, cataloguing, and research as well as host at the Idaho State Historical Museum and Old Idaho Penitentiary Historic Site, help with special events and provide administrative support. For anyone with a desire to give their time, there are hundreds of ways he/she can be effectively utilized at the Idaho State Historical Society.
Hands-on Education Programs
In a high energy environment, hands-on education program volunteers work directly with children, teachers and chaperones to give them a positive field trip experience. Volunteers will work with 3rd and 4th grade students on short, hands-on activities relating to Idaho history. One morning a week during fall and spring months is generally requested of volunteers. Volunteers in this role gain a familiarity with Idaho history, program content, the Society and the Museum.
Volunteers provide an early Idaho history dramatization for children during the fall (Sept. through Nov.) and spring (Feb. and Apr.) one weekday morning per week. Those with a love of history and experience with public performance are encouraged to apply -- no marionette experience is necessary.
Provide guided tours and in-depth programs to scheduled visitors on a pre-selected topics. Programs and tours are provided for all ages. Days and times vary as do size and age level of groups. Interpreters should be able to physically navigate through the site, interact with a variety of patrons and maintain a warm and friendly attitude at all times. Volunteers in this role gain a familiarity with Idaho history, program content, the Idaho Historical Society and the Idaho State Historical Museum.
Greet visitors at the admissions desk of the Old Idaho Penitentiary. Collect site admission and explain the site to visitors. These volunteers are a one-stop shop able to provide information on a wide variety of topics. Visitors can ask them about membership benefits, where to go find information about ancestors and the day's special activities. You can be "in the know" as a visitor services greeter.
The Exhibit Host position helps visitors understand topics covered in the world class J. Curtis Earl Arms Collection, the Electrical Exhibit and other rotating exhibits at the Old Idaho Penitentiary Historic Site. Hosts should be able to physically navigate through the site, talk with a variety of patrons, be patient and courteous, be able to answer endless questions, and maintain a warm and friendly attitude, while treating visitors as though they were guests in your home. Volunteers in this role gain a familiarity with Idaho history, program content, the Idaho State Historical Society and the Old Idaho Penitentiary Historic Site.
Work with Collections
Volunteers in the collections department will have the opportunity to assist curators, registrars, librarians, and archivists with the inventory, processing, and cataloging of various documents and artifacts in the Historical Society's collections. Get a “hands on” perspective of the collections held in the Idaho State Archives and Idaho State Historical Museum.
Research and Writing
Each year thousands of researchers visit the reference library in search of genealogical or other historical topics. Library registration desk volunteers offer a friendly welcome, register patrons and provide directions to a variety of resources. Learn about researchers' projects and trigger your own fact-finding missions.
Filing, data entry, fact-checking, organizing supplies, conducting mailings, preparing materials, re-foldering documents, taking photographs and doing research are all tasks completed by volunteers working behind-the-scenes. Though the work is often not glamorous, volunteers in these assignments help to make historical information available to the public.
Share smiles and provide excellent customer service to shoppers in the midst of hundreds of intriguing items. Restock and maintain displays or ring up and bag purchases.
If you have an unusual, specialized or historically-related skill to share, complete a volunteer application to let us know!
How Do I Become a Volunteer?
The application process is easy!
1. Complete a volunteer application.
2. An ISHS staff member will contact you to arrange an interview to learn more about your skills, abilities, and interests.
3. If there is a good fit, start date and training will be scheduled.
Have questions about specific opportunities? Contact the Old Idaho Penitentiary Historic Site, the Idaho State Historic Museum, the Idaho State Archives or the Administration Office directly.