Maine Historical Society



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Employment, Volunteer, and Internship Opportunities

On this page:   Employment  | Volunteer Opportunities  | Ongoing Opportunities  | Internships  | Portland History Docents Program



Schedule: 35/week (Full-Time)
Starting date: January 2019

Maine Historical Society seeks an experienced, organized, and collaborative Director of Institutional Advancement to lead the organization's fundraising program. The Director of Institutional Advancement is a member of MHS's senior management team and will help lead commemoration of Maine's Bicentennial (2020) and MHS's Bicentennial (2022), and implementation of MHS's new 2019-2023 Strategic Plan. This person is responsible for managing all phases of MHS's advancement program, including fundraising, marketing, and communications. Working closely with the Executive Director, Board, and senior management team and leading a staff of four, the Director of Institutional Advancement designs, develops, and implements a comprehensive development program that supports the sustainability, vitality, and continued growth of MHS.

Read the job description for more information: Director of Institutional Advancement Job Description and Posting.


Schedule: 35/week (Full-Time)
Grant Term: January 15 - December 31, 2019
Deadline for application: December 21, 2018

The Maine Historical Society seeks a full-time Costume Curator for a 12-month, grant-funded project to rehouse, catalog, and digitize the Society’s costume collection. He/she will be an expert in American historic costumes, with skills in textile handling, costume mounting and storage. He/she will participate in research, cataloging, improved storage, improved access and interpretation of the MHS historic costume.

The position’s primary responsibilities and duties of the position include improving catalog records, condition assessment, mounting and preparing costumes for photography, planning and supervising storage of each costume piece, and minor stabilization of select costume pieces and necessary. The Costume Curator will oversee the work of the Curatorial Assistant as well as project volunteers and interns.

A successful candidate will have a minimum of three years’ experience in a museum or academic institution; expertise in American historic costume; proven experience mounting and stabilizing historic costumes; demonstrated commitment to broad international audience, engagement and learning; excellent interpersonal and communication skills with museum/library colleagues, volunteers, interns, researchers, and the general public; and the ability to create and maintain well-researched and precise records.

Please submit a PDF containing your cover letter, resume, and 3 references (including contact information) to Kate McBrien, Chief Curator, at by December 21. Applications will be reviewed as they are received.

Read the job description for more information: Project Costume Curator Job Description and Posting.

Volunteer at MHS

volunteer working at computer

Volunteer indexing Civil War soldier names, 2013

Whether you're new to Portland or have been here a while, consider getting involved at Maine Historical Society as a way of learning more about your city's past, exploring its great cultural offerings, and connecting with like-minded folks.

Volunteering at Maine Historical Society allows you to build your resume while engaging in your community, and giving back. Volunteers are an integral part of all aspects of MHS—we couldn't do it without you! More than 100 people contribute their talents to help us fulfill our mission.

We have a wide variety of opportunities available year-round—in Visitor Services, the Library, with digital projects, collection initiatives, school groups, within museum galleries, at fundraisers and more. What piques your interest and aligns with your skills? Check out the options below and complete the online volunteer application form. We look forward to welcoming you aboard!

In general, MHS internships and volunteer positions operate seasonally, following a college semester pattern: Fall, Spring, and Summer. Wadsworth-Longfellow House positions operate May through October.

Positions for each season are generally filled two to three months in advance. If applying close to, or mid-season, please also consider listing your availability for the following season. However, we encourage applicants to reach out throughout the year, as new projects and initiatives are always underway.

All volunteer positions take place at MHS's campus located at 485–489 Congress Street in Portland and primarily during regular business hours, although some evenings and weekend opportunities may be available for special events.

Ongoing Opportunities

intern working with library staff

Intern working in library with Director of Library Services on a newspaper project

Advancement Department
Assignments for volunteers might include assisting with general organizational tasks, entering program information into online events calendars, staffing donor events, and other similar responsibilities. Some tasks can be done from home if preferred.

Brown Research Library
Success of the Brown Research Library depends heavily on our supportive volunteer community. Volunteer duties available in the library include processing collections, cataloging, data entry, indexing, inventorying collections, digitization, transcription and conducting general historical and genealogical research. In general, library volunteer positions are seasonal and operate on a Winter (Jan-Apr), Summer (May-Aug) and Fall (Sept-Dec) schedule, and commence during public hours. We welcome applications year round, but positions are usually filled two to three months prior to the seasonal start date.

If you are interested in volunteering at the Brown Research Library, please complete the online application form.

Digital Engagement Department
If you are interested in helping with digitization or cataloging of collections on Maine Memory Network, indicate this on the volunteer form. Online application form.

Finance and Administration
Task for volunteers in the Finance and Administration Department might include assisting with filing and other organizational tasks, data entry, answering phones and making calls, and other similar responsibilities. Online application form.

Museum Department
Volunteers in the museum help to document and care for the collection by cataloging, research, and preparing items for storage. They may also assist with specific research and collections projects. Training is provided but experience is certainly helpful and appreciated. Online application form.

Visitor Services/Education
Opportunities within the Education Department include the following. Unless otherwise noted, please complete the online application form to be considered for a volunteer position.

Wadsworth-Longfellow House or Portland History Walking Trail Docent. Many of our house tours are led by docents during the May-October open season, and at other select times throughout the year. All Walking Trail tours are led by docents, June-Columbus Day. Tours may be for the general public or school groups. If you are interested in applying to be a docent, you have two options.

Museum Exhibition Greeter/Attendant. Some of our gallery spaces on campus require greeters and attendants to direct visitors, answer basic questions about the exhibitions, and monitor the space. These opportunities are generally in 3-4 hour shifts.

School Program Assistant. We work with many school groups throughout the year and need assistance overseeing students in the galleries and while they are doing activities, as well as prepping activity materials and room set-up for their visits. We serve elementary, middle, and high school students. Volunteers working with school groups must submit to a background check.

Public Programs/Special Events Assistant. Occasionally we need volunteers to help out with book talks, lectures, workshops, and other special events. This might involve set-up and break-down of the space, greetings attendees, and assisting with speakers.

Click here for the online application form.

Or send a resume and cover letter to:
Volunteer Program
c/o Education Department
Maine Historical Society
489 Congress Street
Portland, ME 04101


Internships for high school, college, and graduate students are available in the Brown Research Library, and Museum, Digital Projects, and Education departments. Internships are defined as supervised practical training for a specified amount of time or number of hours. All internships are unpaid, unless otherwise noted. Projects will vary according to individual needs and goals of the student and MHS. Traditionally, internships are offered in the fall, spring, or summer but other arrangements may be available.

Internships for college credit are available; however it is the responsibility of the applicant to make prior arrangements with their educational institution. Prospective interns should be advised that space is limited and positions are awarded on a first come, first serve basis.

If you are interested in an internship with the Maine Historical Society, please fill out this online application form.

Or mail a resume and cover letter to:
Internship Program
Maine Historical Society
489 Congress Street
Portland, ME 04101

Portland's History Docents Program

PHD program graduation 2014

PHD program graduates

PHD 2018 begins on February 22 and runs through April 26. Fill out and application and sign-up!

Portland's History Docents Program (PHD) is a collaborative effort by Greater Portland Landmarks, Maine Historical Society, Tate House Museum, Victoria Mansion, the Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad and Museum, the Fifth Maine Regiment Museum, Eastern Cemetery, and Spring Point Lighthouse.

Each spring, these organizations join forces to provide a nine-week training program for new prospective volunteer guides at each organization's respective museum site. Several weeks of lively and informative talks and presentations take place at MHS, combined with site visits to each partnering organization.

Upon graduation, PHD participants become eligible to volunteer at the site(s) of their choice, and training at those sites is scheduled on an individual basis. Graduates are asked to commit to a year of volunteer time. At MHS, docents facilitate programming for the Wadsworth-Longfellow House, conduct the Old Port Walking Tour, and assist with visiting educational groups.

Cost is $30, or $20 with a valid student I.D. Applications for the program are processed through Greater Portland Landmarks beginning. For more information on the PHD program or to fill out an application, visit the Portland History Docent website.