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The National Park Service and staff at Fort McHenry would never be able to provide their marvelous services to the public without strong volunteer support.

You can become a part of the Fort McHenry family. If you like to talk with people, take a look at the following notes for what it is to be a Visitor Services Volunteer. If you love history and would really like to step back in time to relive it while sharing your special knowledge with students and visitors, look at the notes for becoming a Living History Interpreter or member of the Fort McHenry Guard.

Fill out a Volunteer Application Form and send it in.
A ranger will be in touch with you.


You can also visit the Fort McHenry NPS website at: www.nps.gov/fomc for more information.


Description of Duties:

Staffs the information desk in the Visitor Center, orients visitor to the park, introduces the historical background movie, collects fees, provides directions and answers phones as needed.

Roves the grounds and fort, initiates visitor contacts providing pertinent information concerning the primary and secondary themes of the park.

The volunteer also fulfills "light security duties" while on the grounds or in the fort. Any safety violation or rule infraction will be dealt with in a manner as prescribed in the training. Any law enforcement issue will be reported immediately to a commissioned ranger.

Volunteers are welcome to develop a formal interpretive program such as a walk or tour. They are asked to consult with the supervisory park ranger.

Operates a portable radio as required to maintain contact with park personnel.

Working Conditions: Work is both indoor and outdoor in nature. Volunteers should come prepared for strong wind and high humidity. Summer temperatures may run as high as 98 degrees. In winter, temperatures may drop to freezing. Long hours of walking and standing are required. Bending and light lifting may be required.

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities: The volunteer must be willing and able to develop a knowledge of the basic park story, Baltimore area features, the National Park System, and interpretive techniques. He or she must be able to speak easily to the public in a one-on-one contact situation or large groups.

Supervision: Supervision and training will be provided by the Supervisory Park Ranger and the Assistant Volunteer Coordinator. Following the initial learning period, the VIP will be assigned tasks and programs without direct supervision. Off site programs may also be given. Closer supervision will be provided for more difficult tasks or as required.


Description of Duties:

The volunteer dresses in period clothing representing a soldier or civilian of 1814.

Initiates visitor contacts, provides information concerning the primary and secondary themes of the park as follows:


  1. Fort McHenry was the key to the successful defense of the city during the Battle of Baltimore, September 13-14, 1814.
  2. Fort McHenry is the birthplace of the "Star-Spangled Banner," written by Francis Scott Key.
  3. Daily life of the garrison soldier-barracks life, rations, drill, guard detail, etc.


Serves as assigned in the Fort McHenry Guard adhering to the Standard Operating Procedures developed for that unit.

May perform off-site living history events, parades, fairs etc.

Learns an appropriate role in the historical period and, if a member of the Fort McHenry Guard, the role in a particular Guard unit; learns the relevant history of the period; and successfully passes written tests for those skills.

Working Conditions: Work is primarily outdoors in the summer. The volunteer is required to wear authentic wool clothing while exposed to high humidity and temperature. For members of the Fort McHenry Guard, marching and performing the manual of arms is expected. Bending and light lifting may be required.

Equipment: ALL UNIFORMS, WEAPONS AND OTHER EQUIPMENT WILL BE PROVIDED BY THE PARK. Any personally owned items used by the volunteer, including period costumes, must be approved in advance by the park staff. No original items may be utilized in the living history program.

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities: The volunteer must be willing and able to develop a basic knowledge of Fort McHenry and the Park story, Baltimore area features, the National Park System and interpretive techniques. He/she must be able to speak easily to the public in one-on-one contact situations or in large groups.

Interested? Fill out and send in a Volunteer Application.