Volunteer Opportunities

GENERAL INFORMATION

The California State Railroad Museum has Museum Volunteer and Museum Docent programs that support the preservation, maintenance and exhibit and interpretive programs it provides.
Volunteers restore and preserve artifacts and facilities in the Museum's collection.  Docents undergo additional training to interpret history in the Museum, conduct tours of Museum exhibits, lead hands-on interpretive activities and participate in school-group oriented programs.
 
Docents may also elect to receive specialized training for programs such as the Operating and On-Board Service crews of the Sacramento Southern Railroad and the on-board AMTRAK Interpretive Program.  
Would you like to help preserve, interpret, and communicate our fascinating heritage of railroading in California and the West?
If your answer is "YES," consider becoming joining the Volunteer/Docent programs of the California State Railroad Museum.

VOLUNTEERING FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

WHAT VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES DOES THE MUSEUM OFFER?
Volunteers work behind-the-scenes in the Museum Library and Archives, Upholstery Shop, and Restoration Shop.  They also work in the Maintenance of Way and Signal Departments of the Museum's operating interpretive railroad: The Sacramento Southern Railroad.

WHAT IS THE MINIMUM AGE TO QUALIFY TO BE A VOLUNTEER?
The minimum age is 16, with a guarding present.  Guardian must be present during training, and during scheduled volunteer hours.

WHAT IS MY TIME COMMITMENT AS A VOLUNTEER?
You will be asked to volunteer at least 84 hours per year, which equals seven hours per month.  You will choose the program(s) in which you work and also what days and hours you volunteer.

IS THERE A FEE TO BECOME A VOLUNTEER?
There is no fee.

WILL VOLUNTEERING WORK FOR ME IF I'M EMPLOYED OR GO TO SCHOOL?
The Museum and its programs operate seven days a week, very day of the year, except Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's Day.  Programs operate throughout the year on certain days, giving you plenty of opportunities to serve in the programs that interest you.

WHAT IS A DOCENT?
A volunteer undergoes a rigorous and enriching course of study and training to qualify as a California State Parks Docent at the California State Railroad Museum.  As a Docent, you work directly with the public, and for their education, enjoyment, and entertainment explain selected aspects of railroad history and railroading, using Museum exhibits and artifacts.  You may also elect to receive specialized training to qualify as a crewmember on the Sacramento Southern Railroad or serve in the AMTRAK Interpretive Program.

WHAT IF I WOULD LIKE TO BE A DOCENT AT THE MUSEUM, BUT DON'T HAVE A RAILROAD BACKGROUND OR KNOW MUCH ABOUT TRAINS?  IS TRAINNG PROVIDED?
The majority of new Museum volunteers do not know much about railroads. You will learn enough in orientation and training to know more about the subject than at least 99% of the Museum's guests.

IS A DOCENT REQURED TO WEAR A UNIFORM?
When working with the public, your "uniform" consists of an approved historic costume, or white shirt/blouse and dark pants.

WHAT IF I HAVE A HARD TIME WITH PUBLIC SPEAKING?
There are jobs behind the scenes, as described above.  However, training and qualifying as a Docent is designed to help that Volunteer overcome potential shyness.  The specific training class sessions will prepare you for dealing with speaking to individuals and groups in public.

WHERE DO I SIGN UP?

Applications are accepted year round, on-line or by mail.  Volunteer intake and training is typically offered three times a year: in the Spring, Summer and Fall. For complete information about becoming a Volunteer, please call or e-mail the California State Railroad Museum, All-Aboard Desk, at (916) 445-0269, or allaboard.csrm@parks.ca.gov

VOLUNTEER OPEN HOUSE

The Museum holds a Volunteer Open House in advance of each scheduled training class (Spring, Summer, Fall).  The event is advertised on the Museum Website and via social media announcements, well in advance.  If you have notified the Museum of your interest in training, you will receive an invitation to the Volunteer Open House.  At that event, come and speak to active volunteers about what it is like to work behind the scenes to help keep operations running.  Also, spend time with Docents learning about the different ways they help visitors and passengers discover how trains operate and have shaped people's lives, the economy and the unique culture of California and the West.