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  • 1.  Volunteer Handbook

    Posted 03-20-2023 03:01 PM

    Hello! My organization is starting to regain the volunteers it had before Covid, along with new volunteers. The volunteers are eager to work, which is great, but we want to add some structure to the volunteer program. We want to develop a handbook for volunteers and docents that describes the policies and procedures, job expectations, background of the organization, etc. Has anyone put together something like this before? Or do you know of some resources and examples that would help with creating a volunteer and docent handbook? Thank you!

    Kaitlynn Anderson
    Museum Curator
    Latah County Historical Society
    Moscow ID

  • 2.  RE: Volunteer Handbook

    Posted 03-21-2023 09:24 AM

    Hi Kaitlynn,

    Have you looked at AAM's sample document library? It has a few examples that might be helpful to you. 

    Heather Hakimzadeh
    Senior Curator
    Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art
    Virginia Beach VA

  • 3.  RE: Volunteer Handbook

    Posted 03-21-2023 10:48 AM

    We look at several examples of Volunteer Handbooks in our Managing
    Museum Volunteers online course in preparation for the final assignment,
    which is to update or create a Volunteer Handbook. Along the way we also
    learn about recruiting volunteers, managing volunteers, best practices
    of running a volunteer program, in-boarding volunteers, evaluating their
    work, and recognizing them for their hard work. For more information
    visit our Managing Museum Volunteers course page:

    Brad Bredehoft (he/him/his)
    Museum Study, LLC

  • 4.  RE: Volunteer Handbook

    Posted 03-21-2023 01:35 PM

    Hi Katilynn, 

    We have lots of great information on the AAMV website for those managing volunteers in museums. We have free as well as members exclusive content. Here are suggestions on what a handbook should include at minimum:

    • Mission Statement – Introduction to the institution, goals of the volunteer program, introduction to the president and staff, etc.
    • Background Information – History of museum, map, frequently asked questions, etc.
    • General Information – Transportation, important museum contact information, benefits (discounts on parking, cafeteria and gift store purchases, free admission to the institution, etc.)
    • Procedures/Rules & Responsibilities – Dress code, professional behavior, emergency procedures, etc.

    You can read more here:

    Feel free to reach out if you have any more questions!

    Best wishes,

    Brandi Shawn-Chaparro
    Associate Director, Volunteer & Visitor Engagement
    The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens

    AAMV Western Regional Director

    Brandi Shawn-Chaparro
    Associate Director, Volunteer & Community Engagement
    Huntington Library, Art Museum, & Botanical Gardens
    San Marino CA

  • 5.  RE: Volunteer Handbook

    Posted 03-21-2023 10:10 PM
    Check out the American Association for Museum Volunteers website:

    Janice Klein
    EightSixSix Consulting

  • 6.  RE: Volunteer Handbook

    Posted 03-22-2023 09:22 AM

    Hi Kaitlynn,

    Our museum is affiliated with a state university, and the policies and procedures for volunteers are shaped by that relationship.  Although our volunteer program may be a bit more structured, our handbook contains many of the same things that you're looking to incorporate.  I'd be happy to share it with you if you think it might be helpful.


    Hollie Corbitt
    Volunteer Program Coordinator
    John & Mable Ringling Museum of Art
    Sarasota FL

  • 7.  RE: Volunteer Handbook

    Posted 03-22-2023 07:00 PM
    Edited by Kaitlynn Anderson 03-22-2023 07:01 PM

    Hi Hollie,

    My organization is in a similar situation. We are the county historical society, so we fall under the umbrella of the county and the 2 full-time staff are 3/4 county employees, and the historic house we manage is county-owned. We have a county employee handbook that some of the items for the handbook can be pulled from, but the historical society doesn't have an internal employee handbook. I would love it if you wouldn't mind sharing your organization's handbook. Thank you!

    Kaitlynn Anderson
    Latah County Historical Society
    Moscow ID

  • 8.  RE: Volunteer Handbook

    Posted 03-22-2023 09:42 AM
      |   view attached

    Hi Kaitlynn,

    We're in the same boat with volunteers coming back in full swing after COVID. Here is an example of our current Volunteer Handbook. I'd love to chat with you more if you have other questions. 

    Best of luck!


    Stacie Stearns
    Development Manager
    Living History Farms
    Urbandale IA


    2023 Volunteer Handbook.pdf   364 KB 1 version

  • 9.  RE: Volunteer Handbook

    Posted 03-22-2023 07:02 PM

    Thank you so much! 

    Kaitlynn Anderson
    Latah County Historical Society
    Moscow ID

  • 10.  RE: Volunteer Handbook

    Posted 03-23-2023 11:09 AM

    Hello Kaitlyn,

     I created from scratch a program back in 2008. I used the publications from National Docent Symposium Council, The United Way trainings and American Association of Museum Volunteers,

    I structured the trainings as a course and created a syllabus. 

    I hope this helps, 

    Miriam Machado 

    Frost Art Museum @ FIU

    Miriam Machado
    Director of Education
    Patricia & Phillip Frost Art Museum
    Florida International University
    Miami, Florida, USA
    "Museum Educator of the Year 2022"