VOLUNTEERING FAQs

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.