The Volunteer Organization of the Metropolitan Museum recruits and trains volunteers for the Museum's Guided-Tour Programs, designed to serve the needs and interests of our diverse visitors, from elementary school children to adults. No prior art history background or work experience is required to volunteer; however, those wishing to volunteer in the Guided-Tour Programs should be comfortable working and communicating with the public. Volunteers for these positions undergo extensive, rigorous training to achieve the highest standards of content and presentation. The Guided-Tour Program activities follow the academic calendar from September through June, and require availability throughout that period.
All accepted applicants for Guided-Tour Programs are required to attend a yearlong training course concentrating on the history of art as it applies to the Museum's collections, as well as on presentation skills and research techniques. For those entering the Weekday Program, full-day training classes are held on Mondays, with some additional Tuesday sessions. After the initial training year, mandatory ongoing training continues on Mondays during the academic year. Volunteers are responsible for extensive research and preparation for their weekly tours. Volunteering in the Museum's Guided-Tour Programs requires a high degree of motivation and dedication, and a minimum commitment of at least three years. The experience is highly rewarding.
Please read the descriptions of the following programs to determine to which program you would like to apply.
Guided-Tour Programs for Adults
Guided Highlights Tours
Volunteers in this program conduct regularly scheduled one-hour Highlights Tours designed to give visitors a general introduction to the Museum's collections. These tours are given in English and nine other languages (see International Guided Tours).
International Guided Tours
International Guided Tours are designed to introduce international visitors to the Museum's collections. These one-hour tours are offered in nine languages: French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Mandarin, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish. Candidates for this program must be proficient in English in addition to the language in which they will be conducting tours. All training is conducted in English.
Community Programs Volunteers give guided tours to New York City residents who experience significant socioeconomic, linguistic, educational, or cultural barriers that may prevent them from participating in the Museum's activities. Volunteers also conduct art-related discussions via telephone for those who are homebound.
Guided-Tour Programs for School Groups
All school tours are given Monday through Friday, in English only. Volunteer guides are responsible for the research, preparation, and presentation of their tours. Each guide is expected to give an average of one tour per week during the school year.
First Views (Grades 1–3)
First Views introduces students in grades one through three to the art, culture, and history in the Museum through creative and thematic guided tours. These tours develop observational and descriptive skills and enable young students to discover connections among different cultures and foster an appreciation of the arts. These tours also include sketching in the galleries. First Views guides attend general and specialized training sessions.
Grades 4–12 School Program guides lead a variety of thematic tours for students that provide engaging learning experiences and introductions to the Museum's collections through lively discussion in the galleries.
Special Education Services
Volunteers for Special Education Services are devoted to meeting the special needs of students of all ages, including those with sensory, developmental, or physical disabilities. These tours explore creative approaches to art and culture. The groups are kept small in order to facilitate optimal interaction between student and guide. Guides receive additional training in the art of helping students with learning differences.
The Cloisters Museum and Gardens
Volunteer guides at The Cloisters museum and gardens conduct tours focusing on the art and culture of the medieval period for school groups throughout the academic year. The tours are given at The Cloisters, a branch of the Museum located in Fort Tryon Park in northern Manhattan. Volunteers work with students in the galleries one day per week.
Applications and Inquiries
Applications must be submitted by March 1, 2013, for consideration for the Guided-Tour Program training class beginning the following September. The Volunteer Organization is no longer accepting guided-tour applications for 2012. Note: your application must include a personal statement expressing why you wish to volunteer as a guide at the Metropolitan Museum and what interests, skills, and experiences you would bring to the position (maximum 250 words).
Due to the limited number of positions, the Volunteer Organization is unable to accept all qualified applicants. We will notify accepted applicants by May 1, 2013. For more information, please call 212-570-3837 or email email@example.com.
Note: The Volunteer Organization does not accept applications from high school or college students. New York City high school students are eligible to apply for a paid internship. Several internships are offered for college and graduate students.