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Volunteer Services Department Records

Identifier: VOL

Scope and Contents

The museum has come to rely on the professionalism and dedication put forth by the individuals who volunteer their time to enrich each visitor's experience. These records document the activities and procedures initiated over the last 40 years by the Volunteer Services office to develop and guide their interactions with the public.

The "Museum guides" series pertains to the weekend, weekday and graduate guides. Documentation includes extensive runs, from the mid-1960s to 2005, of the newsletters published for two of the guide groups; namely, "Guidelines" written for the weekday guides, and "Guideposts" for those who work the weekends. Both are monthly publications. Issues of the "Graduate Guidelines," published approximately six times a year, are also included for the years 1991 to 2003. The series also includes meeting minutes, correspondence, handbooks and training materials. The "Park House guides" series documents in varying degrees each of the seven colonial homes situated in Fairmount Park. There is correspondence and an inventory for each of the homes, except Laurel Hill, as well as folders documenting the special events and tours held in these homes, particularly the Yuletide tours. Materials assembled for reference, slide lectures and training programs, as well as lectures recorded on video and audio tapes, suggest the ongoing education of the guides. Other historic structures, such as Girard College, John Bartram house and garden, and the Waterwooks, are also documented. Newsletters published from 1992 to 2006 comprise most of the material in the "Membership volunteers" series. There is also material pertaining to training, policies and procedures, and finance, as well as to the Captain's and Executive Committees. The membership volunteer handbook, 2000-2001, is saved on a disk along with other miscellaneous items.

Originally housed in scrapbooks, the papers comprising the final series were retained more as memorabilia rather than official records. Yet the service of the Museum's volunteer guides and the breadth of their work is well-recorded. The material consists primarily of letters of appreciation to the Museum's volunteer guides from individuals representing numerous organizations, school groups and institutions, including several City offices. The guides office dubbed the correspondence their "fan mail." A substantial amount of clippings are also included, featuring the work of the guides on behalf of the Museum as well as their personal collections and studies.


  • 1961-2006, undated

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research. Access to institutional records less than 10 years old is at the discretion of the Archivist. These materials are stored offsite so please request them in advance.

Conditions Governing Use

The Volunteer Services Department Records are the physical property of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Archives. The Museum holds literary rights only for material created by Museum personnel or given to the Museum with such rights specifically assigned. For all other material, literary rights, including copyright, belong to the authors or their legal heirs and assigns. Researchers are responsible for obtaining permission from rights holders for publication and for other purposes where stated.


13.5 linear feet

Language of Materials



These records document the activities and procedures initiated by the Volunteer Services office to develop and guide their interactions with the public.


Series 1 through 3 consist of topical or document type subgroups, and in most cases the files of each subgroup are in chronological order. In the last series, because glue was used to affix almost all of the material to the scrapbook pages, the original arrangement has been maintained, combining correspondence and clippings. The books are in rough chronological order, with some overlap of years.

Processing Information

These materials were arranged and described by Bertha Adams. Funded by a grant from The Institute of Museum and Library Services. A folder level inventory was completed in February 2018 by Cassandra Shiflet.

Guide to the Volunteer Services Department Records
Finding aid prepared by Bertha Adams. Accrual processed by Caitlin Abadir-Mullally in 2023.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Funded by a grant from The Institute of Museum and Library Services

Repository Details

Part of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Library and Archives Repository

Philadelphia Museum of Art
PO Box 7646
Philadelphia PA 19101-7646 United States