Every year, the Swannanoa Valley Museum & History Center is supported by over 100 volunteers who collectively contribute thousands of hours – making the Museum a truly community-run enterprise! We offer a wide range of volunteer opportunities with on-the-job training provided by staff.
Besides receiving our deep appreciation, all volunteers are also invited to participate in quarterly volunteer field trips – many of which give our volunteers a behind-the-scenes look at points of historical interest in the area. We also host an annual volunteer appreciation party in November to celebrate all you do for the Museum.
Take a look through our volunteer opportunities below and see if something might be a good fit for you! If so, please fill out our volunteer contact form and someone will be in contact with you soon.
Volunteer docents staff the Museum’s front desk during our open season (typically April through December). With the help of staff members, docents open and close the Museum, greet visitors, orient visitors to our galleries, run the gift shop, and answer questions about exhibits, our institution, and the Swannanoa Valley/Buncombe County area. Docents are the face of the Museum!
We need docents more than any category of volunteers. Docent shifts run 3.5 hours, from 10:00am – 1:30pm or from 1:30pm – 5:00pm, Tuesday – Saturday. Docents can choose to do as many or as few shifts as they would like. Many docents sign-up for one shift a week while others do several a few shifts a year. This is a great way from newcomers to the area to get to know our community and our history.
Collections Care and Management
Do you love historic photographs and documents? If so, then working in the Museum archives may be the volunteer opportunity for you. Our archives have grown exponentially since we renovated in 2016. We have thousands of photographs, documents, research materials, and objects that need to be sorted, cataloged, labeled, and digitized. Volunteering in our archives is a great way for aspiring curators, librarians, and archivists to get experience working with real historical collections or detail-oriented volunteers to lend their skills to making these valuable resources available to the public.
There are numerous opportunities to serve on various committees at the museum based on your interests and experience. Some of these committees include Collections (helping decide what comes in and out of the museum), Education (helping guide the educational programming and outreach at the museum), and Special Events (these fundraising events are educational and fun!).
Education volunteers work with staff to design educational programming and lesson plans for school groups. This can include assisting with or co-leading walking tours, exhibit tours, and/or educational activities at the Museum as well as developing lesson plan materials for History-in-a-Box use in classrooms. We especially love filling our Education Committee with retired or aspiring teachers!
Marketing & Social Media
Volunteers interested in social media and marketing can work with staff to create social media posts for Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, research effective social media methodologies, and expand outreach (digital and material) for ongoing events. Volunteers working in this field also have the opportunity to create press releases, write research articles for the Black Mountain News, and develop an online store for SVM’s digital products.