Volunteering at the Seaport Museum

Want to get hands-on with history and science? Independence Seaport Museum is always on the lookout for dynamic and engaging volunteers to contribute their talents to promote the Museum’s mission of connecting the people of the Philadelphia region to the Delaware River and its waterways. Our volunteers are a highly valued, integral part of the Seaport team, are invited to many Museum openings and special events, and have a lot of fun. 

Find the perfect volunteer opportunity for you today. 

Live the life of a sailor and walk the decks of an historic, engineering marvel as part of Cruiser Olympia’s Living History Crew. This dedicated group of volunteers serves aboard the only remaining vessel of America’s New Steel Navy, which serves as a floating time capsule of scientific focus and industrial ingenuity. They carry on Olympia’s amazing legacy with public events and demonstrations throughout the year, making for one of the most unique volunteer experiences in Philadelphia. To see the Living History Crew’s recent and upcoming activities, visit the Living History Crew Facebook page. Opportunities: year round.

Want to learn more about Philadelphia’s great maritime history? Become an Independence Seaport Museum Docent. Lead tours through the Museum and on our historic ships, assist with educational programming, and engage guests during special events held at the Museum. Sail through history as you complete four required training sessions offered late February into early March. Opportunities: Weekdays and weekends, year round.

Work alongside our staff to restore Cruiser Olympia, the world’s oldest floating steel warship, as well as our unique WWII and Cold War Submarine Becuna. Learn the metalwork, fine woodwork, plumbing, electrical and regular maintenance methods and restoration techniques used to keep these National Historic Landmark ships afloat! Opportunities: Weekdays and weekends, year round.

The Philadelphia Ship Model Society has been volunteering at Independence Seaport Museum’s Ship Shack for over 10 years after building it in the Workshop on the Water, and some of their work is featured in ISM’s galleries. PSMS members offer Museum visitors an opportunity to explore and get involved in the hobby of model shipbuilding. For more information on the society and how to join, visit their website. Opportunities: Most weekends.

Volunteers arrange, describe, and make available to the public the vast amount of historic documents and materials housed in our facility.  Additional volunteer activities include inventorying, catalog entry, preservation work, and assisting with research inquiries.  Opportunities: Weekdays, year round.

Work alongside master boat builders to learn and assist the boat building process.  Opportunities: Weekdays and weekends, year round.

Volunteer Application

If interested in volunteering at Independence Seaport Museum, please contact us.  In your initial correspondence, please advise the area in which you would like to volunteer. 

Background Checks

At the Seaport, the safety and well-being of our guests, volunteers, and staff is a top priority. In order to protect the public we serve, all volunteers must complete a Pennsylvania background check and Pennsylvania child abuse clearance. These clearances are provided at no cost to you and are available online. Once you have submitted the volunteer application, you will receive instructions on how to complete your clearances. If you have obtained clearances in Pennsylvania within 12 months of your start date, you do not need to complete new clearances. All clearances must be received by the Museum before your first day. No exceptions.

Already a Volunteer? Login to the Volunteer Information Center to pick up shifts, update your contact information and get connected. 

visit the seaport museum

Immerse yourself in award-winning exhibitions and climb aboard the Olympia, a nineteenth-century cruiser, and the Becuna, a World War II-era submarine.