INTERPRETATION AND EDUCATIONDo you get a lump in your throat when you hear the strains of our national anthem? Would you like to explain how that incredible song came to be written? Help share and reveal our national past to over 700,000 annual visitors from all over the country and the world!
Volunteering in interpretation provides the opportunity to share your love of history and introduce visitors and students from all walks of life to the stories of Fort McHenry. Help visitors to connect with the rich history of the home of the 'Star-Spangled Banner!'
Visitor Services Volunteer
Energetic, passionate volunteers are needed to give interpretive programs and help staff our information desk in the visitor center. Other important duties include, serving as a contact for visitors in the fort, and providing pertinent information concerning the history of the battle in 1814 and the writing of The Star-Spangled Banner. Volunteers are also used to help patrol our beautiful grounds along the Patapsco River! Additional duties and roles are discussed during the interview process.
Working Conditions:Work is both indoor and outdoor in nature. Volunteers should be prepared for wide extremes in weather - in the summer it can get very hot and humid, averaging between 90 and 98 degrees, and in the winter it can be very cold and blustery, averaging between 38 degrees and freezing! Long hours of walking and standing are also required. Bending and light lifting may be required!
Requirements:A willingness to engage in public speaking is a must! Our volunteers are required to donate eight (8) hours of time a month, generally over the course of two days. Volunteers are needed for weekdays and weekends.
Living History Interpreter in the Fort McHenry Guard
Does the thought of actually living history by marching and drilling in a wool uniform during the hot summer months inspire you? Are you willing to learn original manuals and move heavy pieces of artillery in the blazing sun? Honor and represent those original Defenders who so gallantly and selflessly preserved Baltimore and inspired our national anthem by portraying them on the original ramparts!
Individuals with a high level of physical stamina help visitors understand the history of Fort McHenry by dressing in period correct clothing representing a soldier or civilian of 1814 and performing everyday duties and tasks. Military living history volunteers interpret the daily life of the fort, talking with visitors about barrack life, rations, drill, guard mount, and the battle in 1814. Civilian living history volunteers interpret the social life of Baltimore during the battle, the tavern that existed onsite in 1814, and the role that women played as laundresses to the garrison.
Volunteers are trained by black powder specialists on how to fire muskets and artillery. Musically inclined volunteers may apply to the Fort McHenry Guard Fife and Drum Corps. Civilian volunteers boil laundry and give cooking demonstrations over open fires. Additional duties and roles are discussed during the interview process.
Working Conditions:Volunteers wear wool uniforms in high humidity and temperatures that regularly hit 98 degrees or above. Long periods of marching and drilling with heavy muskets and artillery are required. Bending and heavy lifting is required.
Equipment:All uniforms, weapons and other equipment will be provided by the National Park Service. Any personally owned items used by volunteers must be approved in advance by the park.
Requirements:A willingness to engage in public speaking is a must! Our living history volunteers are required to donate ten weekend days (Saturday or Sunday) over the course of our summer program, which generally runs from Memorial Day Weekend to the second weekend of September. The Saturday of our anniversary weekend in September is the one required day for all members.
BirdersVolunteers with an interest in ornithology are invited to assist in or lead regular bird walks on the grounds. Volunteers in the birding community act as citizen scientists who help us to track migration and nesting patterns for over 200 species of birds who live in the park.
Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine invites you and your faithful companion to help preserve and protect the birthplace of the Star-Spangled Banner. Join the Fort McHenry Paw Patrol to assist in patrolling the park grounds, modeling good dog-owner behavior, and educating visitors about the park and its history.
By regularly walking the grounds, Paw Patrollers can assist rangers in keeping the park beautiful and safe, and have the opportunity to welcome new visitors to learn more about the "home of the brave" and other stories of Fort McHenry.
Dogs participating in the Paw Patrol program must provide current documentation of current vaccinations and boosters. They must also demonstrate behavior consistent with the AKC Canine Good Citizen standards. All applicants will be interviewed on site by the program coordinator.
Paw Patrollers are required to donate a minimum of eight (8) hours per month.
With the Star Fort as its centerpiece Fort McHenry is home to several buildings which require regular maintenance and care. To help our staff preserve these historic structures we are looking for maintenance volunteers with skills in light carpentry and/or painting. If you are handy and willing to work on the original “home of the brave” please join our team!
Working Conditions:Work is both indoor and outdoor in nature. Volunteers should be prepared for wide extremes in weather - in the summer it can get very hot and humid, averaging between 90 and 98 degrees, and in the winter it can be very cold and blustery, averaging between 38 degrees and freezing! Bending and light lifting may be required.
Requirements:Our volunteers are required to donate eight (8) hours of time a month, generally over the course of two days. Volunteers are needed for weekdays.
Natural Resources VolunteerWith over 40 acres of natural and cultural landscape the grounds of Fort McHenry provide visitors with the opportunity to experience nearly years of history by exploring the historic Star Fort or simply enjoying a quiet walk among the trees and along the riverside. Preserving this landscape is the responsibility of our Resource Management team, but this cannot be accomplished without the dedication of our volunteers. Volunteers are invited to help maintain the landscape, assist with invasive plant management, and assist in maintaining the nearby wetlands.
Cultural Resources VolunteerProtecting our cultural resources including archives and the artifacts in the collection is also the responsibility of our Resource Management team. Volunteers are needed to assist with a range of related curatorial tasks including annual inventory, and collections cataloging.
Working Conditions:Work is both indoor and outdoor in nature. Volunteers should be prepared for wide extremes in weather - in the summer it can get very hot and humid, averaging between 90 and 98 degrees, and in the winter it can be very cold and blustery, averaging between 38 degrees and freezing. Bending and light lifting may be required.
Requirements:Our volunteers are required to donate eight (8) hours of time a month, generally over the course of two days. Volunteers are needed for weekdays and weekends.
How to Apply!
Prospective volunteers must submit an application and go through an interview process. Successful completion of both will find you in the proud uniform of a Volunteer-In-Parks, recounting the incredible story of how our national anthem came to be!
Apply online today at Volunteer.gov
Last updated: January 3, 2023