A volunteer docent
The Barnes Foundation

Volunteer Opportunities

Volunteering at the Barnes provides unique access to the collections, programs, and staff, as well as opportunities to enjoy camaraderie with fellow art, culture, horticulture, and education enthusiasts. The Barnes has different types of volunteer positions with varied levels of training, time commitments, and background requirements.

The Barnes is now accepting applications for a range of volunteers supporting the following departments in our Philadelphia location:

  • Administration
  • Archives, Libraries and Special Collections
  • Communications
  • Development
  • Education
  • Family Programs
  • Publications
  • Public Programs
  • Membership
  • Group Tours
  • Visitor Services


Volunteer qualifications:

  • Communicate actively and well
  • Be flexible and adapt to changes
  • Be able to to work in a dynamic environment with visitors of all ages and abilities, museum staff, and volunteers from diverse backgrounds
  • Be well-prepared, dependable, and punctual


Volunteer obligations:

  • Complete the training program
  • Adhere to all Barnes Foundation volunteer guidelines
  • Have a valid e-mail address with reliable access to the Internet
  • Complete a background check
  • Complete the volunteer training program

To read descriptions of each volunteer opportunity, click here. Apply online

School Group Guide

School Group Guides deliver and facilitate gallery lessons for students in pre-kindergarten through 12th grade in the art collection at the Barnes Foundation. Experience implementing programs in museum settings or direct experience teaching pre-K–12 classes desired. Must be able to lead a minimum of four pre-K–12 programs each month during the academic year and commit to at least two years of teaching.

Arboretum Volunteers

The only qualification for becoming an Arboretum volunteer is an interest in gardening. Get your hands dirty with weeding, mulching, and pruning, or be on hand to help with our annual plant sale. This is a great opportunity to learn new skills or hone the ones you have, and to work with rare and beautiful plants.

Year-round, Tuesdays through Thursdays between 8 am and 4 pm.

Apply online.

Arboretum Garden Guide

Garden Guides give tours and provide interpretation of the living collections for visitors to the Barnes Arboretum. Successful completion of the Barnes Horticulture Certificate Program is preferred but not required. After successful completion of guide training, a two-year commitment leading tours as needed and attending monthly continuing education meetings is required.  

Learn more and apply online.


Docents are an important part of communicating Dr. Barnes’s vision, and they have the power to create a fun, welcoming, and educational experience for visitors. Docents attend the Foundation’s Art and Aesthetics courses, are educated in the theories of Dr. Barnes, and receive the necessary training to be a helpful and friendly resource for visitors.


To apply, you must satisfy the following prerequisites:


Once accepted, the obligations of a Barnes Gallery Docent are:

  • Successful completion of the Docent Training Program
  • Commitment to providing 60 hours of volunteer service
  • Availability during a combination of weekday, weekend, and evening hours
  • Adherence to all guidelines in the Barnes Foundation Docent Guidelines


Applications are typically accepted July through October. Docent training classes begin mid-November. Call 215.278.7216 or e-mail us for more information.


Questions about the Barnes new Volunteer opportunities, call 215.278.7216.