To volunteer at Gettysburg National Military Park is, in a small way, to partake of this nation’s precious legacy. Citizens, students, families and others who travel to this place from all over the world seek to understand something more of it than what they once knew. Those who wish to volunteer at Gettysburg should do so from a desire to share the special nature of this sacred space, to aid in its preservation for future generations.
Goal of position: To provide information, orientation, and assistance to park visitors, thereby facilitating a greater visitor enjoyment, use and concern for the park and its resources.
Skills/ Knowledge Required: Potential Visitor Service volunteers should enjoy working with the public, and must have knowledge of or willingness to learn about park historical and natural resources. They should possess an ability to communicate effectively with people of all ages and backgrounds. They should be able to remain calm and courteous during busy and occasionally stressful conditions.
Benefits: Volunteers will learn about many aspects of the park’s historical and natural resources. They will also get to hone their public contact and communication skills while working with park visitors. Uniform shirts and hats are provided.
While Gettysburg National Military Park's main Information Desk appears to be the sole point of contact for our visitors looking to acquire the information they need, such is far from true. Volunteers provide valuable information and assistance to walk-ins, families, bus groups and educational groups in a wide variety of settings, from roving outdoor settings to fielding phone calls. Here, clarity of speech and the enthusiasm to greet numbers of visitors posing the same question are well appreciated. Multiple-language skills (Spanish, German, etc.,) while not required, would certainly prove beneficial.
Roles for Volunteers
Plaza Volunteer/Roving Ambassador – Out and about the Visitor Center Complex: greeting and orienting new visitors to Gettysburg, assisting visitors in navigating the complex.
Information Desk – A little more in-depth than the Plaza Volunteer/Roving Ambassador: answer specific questions as to what there is to see and do, the times of programs, etc.
There are a limited number of these positions.
Museum Rove – Volunteers posted in the museum assist in answering visitor’s questions, on occasion engaging them in exhibit-based discussion when appropriate. They also serve as an extra pair of eyes, noting the condition of cases and displays, communicating any needed information on such to a Park Ranger.
Resource Room Aide – On occasion, visitors may wish to delve further into their own personal connections with the Civil War & the Battle of Gettysburg. To facilitate this journey, volunteers are posted in the Resource Room to assist with their discoveries, utilizing Ancestry.com, Fold3, the Civil War Soldiers & Sailors System, and other such tools.
Soldiers’ National Cemetery – The Soldiers’ National Cemetery is the final resting place of over 6,000 dead; 3,512 from the battle of Gettysburg, others from conflicts as late as Vietnam. Volunteering in the National Cemetery can, on occasion be a complex and delicate matter – for while Cemetery Hill is a portion of the battlefield where President Lincoln spoke, it is still a cemetery; where grieving, in some form, is sometimes yet encountered. This requires decorum, sensitivity, and understanding.
West End Guide Station – Volunteers seasonally occupy the West End Guide Station along US Route 30, west of town, during the warmer months, to assist battlefield visitors, often greeting them prior to their initial contact at the Museum & Visitor Center.
Work Location: The primary volunteer opportunity is located in the Museum and Visitor Center building located at 1195 Baltimore Pike, Gettysburg Pennsylvania 17325.
Work Schedule: A usual volunteer shift is traditionally 4 hours a week. As the park’s information desk is staffed 7 days per week, exclusive of designated holidays (Christmas, Thanksgiving & New Years’ Day,) volunteer availability must fall within these times. The park experiences heavy visitation during the summer months, in addition to predictable surges on holiday weekends, as well as during the annual spring and fall field-trip bus-tour seasons. It is during these times the park derives its strongest assistance from its most reliable volunteers.
The park's highly successful Adopt-A-Position (AAP) Program engages volunteers in helping to meet goals established by the Gettysburg National Military Park (GNMP) to maintain the historic setting of the battlefield. Volunteers assist the park by performing field maintenance and labor that otherwise would not be completed due to budget and or staffing restraints,a nd donate time and labor to preserve a regimental position, a battery location, or brigade line. Like any historical feature on the battlefield, monuments and markers have additional contributing elements or "assets". Assets include the foundation mounds (an important structural element of most of the regimental monuments) surrounding grounds, adjacent fences or walls, earthworks, trails or walks to the sites or the pasture in which the monument stands. All of these assets are important to the monument, and/or the positions held by the Union or Confederate troops during the battle. The park will provide site assessments to outline the maintenance needs of each site. Since its inception, Adopt-A-Position has sponsored thousands of individuals and groups in battlefield preservation. More.......
Park Watch Program
Park Watch volunteers work within the park boundaries of Gettysburg National Military Park and Eisenhower National Historic Site to assist law enforcement rangers with visitor safety and the protection of park resources. Volunteers assist ranger staff through an active program of patrolling park lands and boundaries and performing surveillance work to detect any evidence of illegal or suspicious activities. The volunteer serves as the "eyes and ears" of park law enforcement, reports observations to the Ranger on duty, and may assist with traffic and crowd control at special events and park incidents.
At this time, the Park Watch program is full. When a new recruiting class is announced, that information will be posted here. If you wish to join a mailing list for the next class, please email your name and contact information to Maria Brady or Dan Holler.
Scout Ranger Patch Program
The National Park Service and Boy Scouts of America have teamed up to get our scouts and their troops involved in park stewardship! Being a Scout Ranger allows you to discover your national parks. Whether you are visiting a natural park like Yosemite National Park, or a historical site like Allegheny Portage Railroad National Historic Site in Pennsylvania, we hope you will learn something about the national park and yourself!
By being a Scout Ranger you will be able to:
Learn about the mission of the National Park Service
Help protect the nation's natural, cultural, and historic resources