Volunteering & Internships

Volunteer Opportunities

Our volunteers May 2012

To join our volunteer team or to request more information please download the Volunteer Information Form and send to our volunteers department at diane@steinbeck.org or National Steinbeck Center, One Main Street, Salinas, CA 93901. Please see a list of available volunteer opportunities below:


A museum docent is a creative, imaginative, enthusiastic individual who provides interpretative services to National Steinbeck Center visitors through guided tours and workshops, as well as special events such as family programs, exhibit openings, adult activities and museum outreach programs. Must have a working knowledge of the life and work of John Steinbeck in order to provide correct answers to questions commonly asked by guests. A docent should be able to speak in public and present information to groups of all ages in an organized and enjoyable manner. Spanish translation and speaking ability is a plus! Approximate obligation: eight hours per month:

  • Attend informative and fun docent-training classes
  • Study selected readings
  • Accompany other docents on guided tours to gain knowledge and skills in leading groups
  • Attend curatorial walk-through programs given by Curator of Exhibitions and Collections and/or attend cultural openings.
  • Assist staff in development of educational material that will be available to visitors at the front kiosk

Administrative Staff Assistant

An administrative staff assistant helps with clerical, mailings, filing, proofing and other office work based on experience and need. This person is comfortable taking direction from the museum staff and is willing and able to work independently. Experience with Excel, Microsoft and Word a plus. Ability to translate Spanish is a plus! Approximate obligation: 8 hours per month

  • Collate and assemble packages for large mailings
  • Make phone calls reminding key individuals of upcoming events
  • Ensure front desk is well-supplied with educational materials, historical documents and pertinent and timely collateral.
  • Write thank you notes to donors, members and other stakeholders
  • Make photocopies
  • File
  • Enter data
  • Answer phones as needed

Museum Greeters

A greeter is a friendly person who feels comfortable engaging with people from all over the world to ensure their experience at the National Steinbeck Center is the best by providing a welcoming environment and being able to knowledgeably and accurately answer questions about the exhibits and facility. This person should be knowledgeable about the Oldtown, Salinas and Monterey Bay areas, including other tourist attractions. This volunteer is knowledgeable about the life and work of John Steinbeck as well as the history of the agricultural business. The greeter is the face of the Center and is also the last person to interact with the guest, so it is vital that the impression they make is a lasting and positive one. Approximate obligation: minimum of 8 hours per month

  • Greet visitors and ask them to sign the guest book
  • Give brief orientation to Center guests
  • Hand out stickers to all paying customers
  • Stay available to answer questions and alert to activity in the Exhibition Hall
  • Enforce the rules of the galleries regarding food, drinks, noise levels, touching of exhibits, etc.
  • Alert staff if issues arise
  • Offer evaluation forms and membership forms to all guests as they leave museum
  • Reference contribution box

The National Steinbeck Center
Seeks Education Program Volunteer/Intern
for Steinbeck Young Authors Writing Program

The National Steinbeck Center seeks an education program volunteer to help us administer our core educational program--The Steinbeck Young Authors writing program. This position will require the commitment of 10-20 hours per week from now through May 2015, working closely with the National Steinbeck Center’s education and program team.

We are looking for a person with independent initiative, strong writing and communication skills, a sharp attention to detail, and facility in Microsoft Office Word & Excel. Some of this work can be accomplished from home, but regular presence at the National Steinbeck Center in Salinas will be required.

The Steinbeck Young Authors middle school program, a writing program for Monterey County middle school students based on Steinbeck’s The Red Pony, promotes literacy and encourages students to pursue a college education. From 2,500-4,000 students participate in this program each year, culminating in a Day of Writing, an awards ceremony, and publication of students’ work in the Gabilan Journal. Serving more than 20,000 students over more than a decade, the Steinbeck Young Authors program has played a significant role in promoting literacy in Monterey County and encouraging middle school students to envision roles for themselves as active co-creators in their educational future.

This is an unpaid volunteer/intern position, and a significant training opportunity in the fields of education and program administration. We are prepared to write a strong letter of recommendation for high-performing interns.

Please send resume, cover letter, and a writing sample to Elizabeth Welden-Smith at the National Steinbeck Center, at elizabeth@steinbeck.org. Thank you for your interest.


The National Steinbeck Center offers internship possibilities to emerging museum and non-profit professionals who are interested in the Center’s mission to build community and celebrate creativity, inspired by the words of John Steinbeck.

The National Steinbeck Center accepts interns in the following departments:
• Exhibitions
• Public & Education Programs
• Marketing & Community Engagement
To be considered for an internship, please send a resume and cover letter, identifying which department you are interested in working with, to Jesse Banda at jesse@steinbeck.org.