We are looking for passionate, committed people to join our dedicated corps of volunteers. Donate your time to Poplar Forest and become part of an exciting team of archaeologists, craftsmen, preservationists and museum professionals at Jefferson’s retreat, a National Historic Landmark.

Fun and rewarding opportunities available

More than 100 exceptional volunteers share their time and talents at Thomas Jefferson’s Poplar Forest each year. Volunteers give their time to welcome visitors, staff the museum shop, work in the hands-on-history center, conduct tours of the house and grounds, help with special events and assist in a myriad of important ways.

Poplar Forest seeks volunteers interested in history, archaeology and historic preservation and those who enjoy working with both adults and children. Volunteers work as tour docents, museum shop assistants and hands-on history docents.

Volunteer benefits

Learning new information and interacting with visitors are only a few of the benefits of volunteering at Poplar Forest. Our volunteers find that being part of a team of committed individuals passionate about history, education and preservation is personally rewarding and engaging.


Volunteers also receive:

  • Poplar Forest house & grounds admission for docent and immediate family
  • “Notes on the State of Poplar Forest,” fall and spring newsletter
  • Poplar Forest library privileges
  • Admission to Jefferson-related programs and lectures at Poplar Forest
  • 20% discount in the Museum Shop
  • Opportunities for field trips arranged by the Poplar Forest staff

About Volunteering

To become a volunteer at Poplar Forest, you must complete a training program to prepare you for your volunteer position. Volunteers should be willing to work a minimum of six hours (or two shifts) per month during the tour season (mid-March through December 30).


  • Attendance at required training sessions each year
  • Work an average of six hours minimum per month, during the general admission season and/or extended season including scheduled open days, holidays, special events and/or group tours


  • A willingness to make guest services to the visiting public the first priority while functioning as a volunteer
  • Possession of an interest in history and historic preservation
  • Possession of good communication skills including patience and tact
  • Ability to feel at ease with people from a variety of backgrounds
  • Attitude of flexibility and co-operation in working with the public and one’s peers
  • Physical stamina to work on one’s feet for a three-hour shift (tour docents, in a non-conventional air conditioned situation)


Tour Docent

  • Leads guided tours of Jefferson’s retreat home
  • Opportunities to lead elective/specialty tours such as Candlelight Tours, Enslaved Community Tours, Women of Poplar Forest tours, etc.
  • Give 3-4 tours a shift

Museum Shop Docent

  • Welcomes visitors to Poplar Forest
  • Provides visitors with map of property and directions to tour
  • Answers questions related to property and Museum Shop merchandise

Hands-On-history docent

  • Assist with programming for school field trips
  • School activities include brickmaking, quill pen writing, archaeology demos, tours

Apply Now

  • Please select the volunteer position you are applying for.
  • Are you fluent in a foreign language? If so, what language?
  • Please list previous volunteer or work experience, education, and any hobbies or other interests.

“I look to the diffusion of light and education as the resource most to be relied on for ameliorating the condition, promoting the virtue, and advancing the happiness of man.” Thomas Jefferson, 1822