National Gallery of Art - EDUCATION

Volunteer Opportunities

Volunteers make significant contributions to the many programs and public services offered by the National Gallery of Art. Potential volunteers should contact the departments in which they would like to offer assistance.


The Division of Education recruits and teaches volunteers to lead general tours. Various tours are designed to serve the interests of both children and adults and are made available for the permanent collections and special exhibitions.

Volunteer docents also give tours in foreign languages to students and adults. To participate in the foreign language program, a tour leader must speak with the fluency of a native speaker.

Art Information Volunteers

The Department of Adult Programs recruits and orients volunteers who staff the Information Desks at the entrances to the East and West Buildings. These volunteers are the face of the museum for many of our visitors, as they provide assistance and information, answering a range of questions about the permanent collections, special exhibitions, and Gallery programs and activities. They also keep the desks stocked with maps and brochures for the public, track visitor requests, questions, and comments, and assist with visitor surveys from time to time.

Additional information and application


The division of horticulture recruits volunteers with a passion for gardening. There are volunteer opportunities both indoors and out, depending on the volunteer's preference and the horticulture department's current projects. Volunteers are welcome to start at any time of year and are encouraged to commit for one year as a way to experience the different seasons of horticulture with the Gallery.

Additional information and online application


For information on volunteer opportunities in the National Gallery of Art Library, please send your résumé to:

Head of Reader Services
National Gallery of Art Library
2000 B South Club Drive
Landover, MD 20785


The National Gallery of Art copyist program has been in operation since the Gallery opened in 1941. A permit issued by the registrar's office is required for copying works of art in oil or any other liquid medium. The Gallery provides permit holders with an easel, stool, and drop cloth; private easels are not allowed. Visitors may sketch with pencils or other dry media in the galleries without a permit.

To participate in the copyist program, applicants must meet all requirements outlined in the National Gallery of Art "Rules Governing the Copying of Works of Art" and agree to an interview and a security background check; they must acknowledge in writing their acceptance of the rules. For more information on the copyist program, please e-mail your name and mailing address to A packet of materials will be mailed to you within seven business days.

The issue of a copyist permit does not in any way constitute the National Gallery of Art's endorsement of a copyist's work.