Volunteering at Alexandria Archaeology

Learn new skills, and indulge your curiosity about the past. Excavation, artifact study, historical research, computer work, oral history, editing, teaching and other opportunities may be seasonally available. Each year more than 100 volunteers work alongside the City Archaeologists and contribute close to 10,000 hours to discovering and sharing our heritage.

Page updated on Jun 22, 2021 at 12:03 PM

Volunteering at Alexandria Archaeology


How to Volunteer with Alexandria Archaeology

If you would like to volunteer, read the information below and then fill out the  Volunteer Application. Your information will be added to our database. When volunteers are needed, you will be contacted about current opportunities and orientation schedules. Please note that some positions may not be available. Volunteer needs are often seasonal or project-based, and other positions may already be filled. 

Volunteers must:

  • be at least 16 years of age (no exceptions)
  • work at least six hours per month for a least three months
  • sign and abide by the Code of Ethics for Alexandria Archaeology


Oral History ProjectOral History: Abramson image

An oral history orientation is required for all volunteers. Current projects include the Alexandria Legacies Project, The Legacy of George Floyd, and Chronicling the Pandemic. Please indicate any skills you may have with video, writing, interviewing, indexing or transcribing on the Volunteer Application.

Oral history responsibilities include conducting an interviews and/or transcribing an interview. Volunteers are also welcome to interview long-time Alexandria residents they know personally. 


Archival Research

Historical Research

Historic research orientation and training is provided according to the assigned project. Find out about the people who lived on our archaeological sites. Trace the history of the properties and the development of the City. Researchers are needed to conduct deed research, study tax records and other primary sources, and to index data.


ExcavationExcavation

A field orientation is required for all volunteers wishing to excavate with Alexandria Archaeology. There are no current excavations available for volunteers. 

Help to dig on an archaeological site. Volunteers dig with trowels and a variety of larger and smaller tools, screen soil to recover artifacts, keep detailed records, draw maps, and take photographs. Excavation requires attention to detail and hard physical work. Volunteers may work in very hot or cold weather, or even in light rain.

Excavation is one of the most popular volunteer activities, and may not always be available for new volunteers. A waiting list is kept of people who would like to dig, and volunteers working in other areas of the program may be given priority. Experienced volunteers are sometimes needed with surveying, photography, map making and other special skills.


Artifact ProcessingArtifact Processing

A lab orientation is required for all volunteers. Learn to identify the artifacts found on archaeological sites. Volunteers wash, mark, photograph and catalogue artifacts, as needed, and they may occasionally assist with other areas of collections management.

Artifact processing is one of the most popular volunteer activities, and may not always be available for new volunteers. A waiting list is kept of people who would like to do lab work, and volunteers working in other areas of the program may be given priority. Experienced volunteers are sometimes needed with photographing, cataloging, and other special skills.


EducationEducation

Help with our hands-on Educational and Public Programs. Volunteers help small groups of children and adults with hands-on activities during Adventure Lessons, and at public events like fairs and festivals. Volunteers who are comfortable with public speaking or teaching are needed to introduce the Adventure Lessons to groups of 20 participants.

Educators are currently needed. Training is provided individually or in groups. If you would like to observe an Adventure Lesson to see if you would like to help, call the Education Coordinator at 703.746.4399.


Administrative and Clerical Work

Volunteers with good clerical skills are needed to answer phones, type manuscripts and memos, maintain databases, fill orders from our Publications catalogue, prepare mailings, and assist with other aspects of office work.

Training is provided on an individual basis.


Other Volunteer Jobs

What special skills do you have? Do you have experience with newsletter writing? Graphics and Layout? GIS? We may have just the job for you. Be sure to indicate your special skills and interests on the Volunteer Application form. 


Code of Ethics for Alexandria Archaeology

As an Alexandria Archaeology Volunteer, I agree to:

  • Support conservation and preservation of archaeological resources.
  • Refrain from engaging in any illegal or unethical conduct including buying, selling, exchange or unscientific collection of artifacts.
  • Refrain from participating in any excavation that is not authorized and supervised by professionally qualified archaeologists and institutions.
  • Comply fully with instructions given by Alexandria Archaeology personnel in regard to volunteer activities and keep my supervisor fully informed of any changes in my schedule.
  • Contribute to public education by accurately representing the work of Alexandria Archaeology.

Alexandria Archaeology reserves the right to dismiss any volunteer who does not follow the above Code of Ethics.


What is it like to Volunteer?

Volunteers make valuable contributions in many areas, some requiring a lot of knowledge and skill, and others requiring only the willingness to help. Some contribute as little as six hours a month, and others work with us daily. Sometimes volunteers work in groups, especially for digging and laboratory work. Others work alone on research, but can come together with their colleagues over lunch and special events.

Volunteers may also:

  • Come to the annual Volunteer Recognition Party
  • Attend special events, lectures, field trips and site tours
  • Come to monthly open meetings of the Alexandria Archaeological Commission
  • Sign up for eNews: Select alerts from Alexandria Archaeology to keep up-to-date on events and opportunities.


If you cannot Volunteer

If you are younger than 16, or do not have the time to volunteer regularly, you may be interested in attending events such as Summer Camp or Site Tours, or you may want to participate through the Friends of Alexandria Archaeology.

Please note that some positions may not be available. Volunteer needs are often seasonal or project-based, and other positions may already be filled. If we can not meet your needs right away for a rewarding volunteer experience, you may want to consider volunteering at another Alexandria museum. And be sure to join check our Calendar of Events Calendar link for festivals, lectures,  and other fun and interesting ways to participate while you await the next orientation.

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