Volunteers make it possible

As a nonprofit organization, we depend on community volunteers to help us accomplish our mission of teaching about President Wilson and his era through interpretive tours, exhibits, programs and the preservation of archives, artifacts, gardens and historic structures. Volunteers impact our entire organization by helping with both short-term and long-term projects.

Who can volunteer?

Volunteer positions are open to individuals age 16 and older who meet the qualifications outlined below, without regard to race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, age, or disability.

What's in it for me?

Volunteers have access to the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library in a way that is not offered to the general public. We provide orientation training, flexible scheduling, a subscription to the Wilson Review, and ongoing learning opportunities through special lectures open only to volunteers. If you help at least 12 hours a month, you also receive a 20% discount in the President's Shop and free admission to the museum for you and your family.  You will also have the opportunity to meet and talk with others who share your fascination with history!

Where can I volunteer?

Our staff will work with you to find a volunteer placement that best matches your interests and availability.  The following are descriptions of current volunteer opportunities at the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library & Museum:          (Unless otherwise noted, help is needed from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday)

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the inner workings of the Wilson Presidential Library and learn professional skills along the way. Administrative volunteers assist with mailings, research projects, filing, data entry, and other office needs.

Successful administrative volunteers are reliable, accurate, have basic computer skills, can organize materials alphabetically and numerically, and are comfortable working in an office environment.

Do you have an interest in antiques and collectibles? Collection volunteers help with documenting and preserving the museum's collections.  They assist with inventories, monitor the museum environment, prepare detailed object descriptions, photograph artifacts, enter information in a computer catalog, conduct research and install exhibits.

Successful collection volunteers must be detail-oriented. Library, museum or historical research experience is helpful. Collection volunteers must be willing to take the museum's artifact handling training.  Due to this training requirement, they are also asked to make a six-month volunteer commitment.

Museum Educators
Do you like learning about history and sharing your knowledge? Become a museum educator and work with our education staff to lead scheduled school tours, present curricula-based programs to school-aged audiences, develop materials for teachers to use in the classroom, assist with special children's programs such as summer history camp, and help develop and evaluate programming. Help is needed during school hours, 9:30 a.m. -3 p.m. Monday through Friday and occasionally on some weekends.

Successful educators must become knowledgeable about our school program curricula and museum exhibit. They have excellent communication and interpersonal skills, are comfortable speaking in front of groups, and are self-motivated to attend regular training and study training materials. Prior knowledge of history and/or education is helpful, but not required.

Help maintain our historic gardens, including a brick terrace and Victorian knot garden.  Grounds volunteers help with weeding, pruning, planting, leaf removal, mulching, watering, and fertilizing. They can also provide advice on garden maintenance, recommend historically accurate additions to the gardens, advise on removal of diseased or invasive plants, and serve as an expert garden host during special events.

Successful grounds volunteers should have a general knowledge of garden plants, the ability to work unsupervised, and the physical ability to kneel, bend, grip equipment, and carry tools and supplies.

Graphic Design
Create vibrant communications to attract visitors and engage our supporters. Graphic design volunteers use computer software to design print and electronic communications such as flyers, advertisements, brochures, e-newsletters, annual reports or e-mails using the institutional graphic design standards. Design work can take place in our offices or at your home or place of business.

Successful graphic design volunteers should be familiar with basic design principals and have experience with InDesign, Adobe or other design software. They must be willing to learn and adhere to the institutional graphic design standards, be open to suggestions and corrections, and be able to complete work with a deadline.

Get access to the inner sanctum of books, archival documents and historical photographs. Library volunteers help organize and document historical archives and books, file documents, organize and clean library stacks, and provide research assistance for requests from across the country and around the world. Responsibilities may include computer data input and general office duties.

Successful library volunteers have a strong attention to detail and have exceptional organizational skills. This position requires computer literacy. Previous archival experience or library training is preferred.

Marketing and Public Relations
Spread the word! Marketing and public relations volunteers work with museum, library and education staff to communicate to the wider world about the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library and its many activities. Volunteers write copy, take photographs, and distribute communication materials including press releases, flyers, brochures, advertisements and e-communications. They also prepare brochure mailings, search newspapers for related stories, prepare clippings for archiving, process visitor comment cards, and conduct surveys. Work may be performed on or off-site.

Successful marketing and public relations volunteers have prior experience or academic training in marketing, public relations or communications. They can use a computer and demonstrate excellent written communication skills including writing, editing and proof reading.

Museum Attendant
Museum attendants serve as ambassadors to the public. They greet and orient visitors to the museum, collect tickets, answer simple biographical questions, give directions to the downtown area and answer the telephone. Museum attendants also encourage visitors to complete comment cards, sign up for our e-newsletter or become a member. Help is needed anytime between 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Saturday or 12 – 5 p.m. on Sunday.

Successful museum attendants have excellent interpersonal skills and must be able to learn basic institutional facts. Customer service and retail experience are helpful, but not required.

President's Shop
The President's Shop is more than a retail center—it is also our ticket office and visitor orientation center. Shop volunteers greet visitors, describe exhibits and tours, sell tickets and store merchandise, collect cash and credit card payments, monitor visitors in the shop, start the orientation video, bag merchandise, price and stock store merchandise, assist with inventories and make sure that the shop is clean, organized and well-maintained.

Successful shop volunteers like interacting with people, can accurately count money and give change, and are able to handle several tasks at one time. Prior experience with customer service or retail is a plus.

Social Media
Engage our supporters and capture new audiences as our social media volunteer. Volunteers write and post content for Facebook, Twitter, the institutional blog and other electronic social media platforms. They also help evaluate the effectiveness of this program by tracking visitors and responding to subscriber's comments when appropriate. Work can take place either on or off site.  

Successful social media volunteers have a general knowledge of computers and social media platforms, a commitment to sharing correct facts, strong written communication skills, and are accurate with keyboarding and data entry.

Special Events
Share in our success by helping with programs such as lectures, exhibit openings and commemorative celebrations. Depending on your strengths and interests, there is a volunteer position for you. Assist in setup, serve refreshments and food, hand-out materials, greet visitors, take tickets, and answer questions. As an added perk, free volunteer seating is available for some special events.

Successful special event volunteers share their positive energy with visitors to ensure that everyone has a great time. They are flexible, self-motivated and willing to lend a hand wherever it's needed.

Would you like to share a special skill that you don't see described above? Let us know—you may be exactly what we are looking for!

For additional information or to request a volunteer application, please contact Karen Dodson - Administrative Officer, (540) 885-0897 ex. 113.


did you know?

Wilson was president throughout World War I. He attempted to keep America out of the war and even won reelection with the slogan "He kept us out of war." Nonetheless, after the sinking of the Lusitania, continued run-ins with German submarines, and the release of the Zimmerman Telegram, America became involved. with the Lusitania, the continued harassment of American ships by German submarines, and the release of the Zimmerman Telegram meant that America joined the allies in April, 1917.

Woodrow Wilson was President when the 19th amendment was ratified in 1920 giving women the right to vote.

Wilson piloted the ship that brought America onto the world stage. He made the first steps of leading us out of isolationism, violating Washington's tenet of avoiding foreign entanglements.

He led America during World War I. His fervent hope was for the US to join a League of Nations, the precursor to the United Nations.

A Woodrow Wilson Quote: "Life does not consist in thinking, it consists in acting."

A Woodrow Wilson Quote: "The Constitution was not made to fit us like a straitjacket. In its elasticity lies its chief greatness."

A Woodrow Wilson Quote: "I believe in democracy because it releases the energies of every human being."

The Seventeenth Amendment was formally adopted on May 31, 1913. Wilson had been president for almost three months at the time. The amendment provided for the direct election of senators. Prior to its adoption, Senators were chosen by state legislatures.

Wilson was the first president to receive a PhD which he got in Political Science from Johns Hopkins University. He had received his undergraduate degree from the College of New Jersey, renamed Princeton University in 1896.

Woodrow Wilson could not read during the first decade of his life. Though undiagnosed, he may have suffered from a learning disability

Woodrow Wilson was known as "Tommy" until his college years.

Woodrow Wilson during his boyhood, helped establish the "Lightfoot Baseball Club" with his friends. Wilson played second base and was an avid sport fan throughout his adult life.

Woodrow Wilson was the first president to attend the Major League Baseball Fall Classic. He saw the debut of a young 20 year old pitcher by the name of George Herman "Babe" Ruth.

Woodrow Wilson was a graduate of Princeton University and Johns Hopkins University and the only president to hold an earned doctoral degree.

Woodrow Wilson image is on the $100,000 bill although it is no longer in circulation