Friday, February 18, 2011

Volunteer Opportunities Coming Up

Glessner House Museum depends on volunteers to assist in a variety of ways.  Most of our volunteers are tour guides, or docents, but we also have a few that conduct research, help care for the collection, and lend a hand with special events and projects.


We rely on volunteers to give tours of both the Clarke and Glessner Houses to thousands of visitors from all over the world. As a volunteer docent, your job is to lead an exploration of the rich topics each house had to offer. Whether your group is a classroom of school children or people from the neighborhood, there is always the possibility of insightful dialogue and new discoveries – for the visitors and for you!

Docents receive special benefits for their service including priority invitations and discounts to lectures, programs, and other events and 25% off on merchandise in the museum gift shop.  Throughout the year, we hold continuing education programs specifically for docents as well as an annual volunteer recognition party.  And the best part is that you get the chance to make connections with people who are interested in the same things that you are!

To prepare volunteers to conduct tours, trainees go through 14 hours of instruction and receive a comprehensive manual with detailed information on the architecture, furnishings, and social history of two of Chicago's most significant houses.  Docents must commit to 48 hours of volunteering during their first year, which usually works out to four hours a month, but once certified, docents are only required to give 24 hours of service, or 12 two-hour tours per year, to remain in good standing.  Most tours are given during our regular public house on Wednesday through Sunday afternoons, although there are opportunities for docents to lead custom tours scheduled in the mornings or guide mini-tours during evening rentals.

New docent training is scheduled for next month for anyone interested.
Saturday March 5, 2011, 10:00am - 4:00pm
Saturday March 12, 2011, 10:00am - 4:00pm
Saturday March 19, 2011, 10:00am - 12:00pm
Contact Museum Coordinator Gwen Carrion at 312.326.1480 to register.

Other Volunteer Opportunities

We also have volunteer opportunities for those with an interest in the museums and our work who may be too busy (or just a bit too shy) to make the docent commitment. You might have a talent or interest that can help and we'd love to hear from you, too!

Please email and include your mailing address for a volunteer packet or call 312-326-1480 and request more information.  You can also download a volunteer application by clicking here.


An important method for sharing the cultural riches of the Glessner and Clarke Houses is our internship program. Through internships, we offer educational outreach to university students who want to learn about the architecture, art, and social history of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, as well as the many aspects of museum administration. Staff works closely with students to determine internship objectives and to set project priorities. Many of our interns are fulfilling a degree requirement and will receive course credit; several of our interns have come to experience working in the museum field before making an academic or professional commitment.

With our vast resources, we are able to take students from a wide variety of fields: historic preservation, decorative arts, museum studies, history, event management, and more. By placing each student into a working environment where each becomes part of museum team, we provide interns with knowledge and training that they can take with them into their careers. Here we are able to take that one step further and combine the theory with hands-on professional training and real work experience.

Although all internship positions are filled through the Spring of 2011, we are still looking for students that would like to have an unpaid internship experience this summer or fall.  For those interested, you can download an internship application by clicking here.

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