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Volunteer Program

Want to help the Maryland State Archives? We need you!

We need enthusiastic volunteers who are interested in donating their time and talents! We are looking for individuals to assist us in caring for and making our collections more accessible. We welcome anyone who is eager to lend a hand from high school students to senior citizens, and we have many diverse opportunities available to meet varied time, interest and experience levels. Professional archivists will provide all the necessary training, equipment and tools, if you provide the hours and the energy. We can work with individuals seeking academic credit, field work, professional experience or community service hours, as well. We even have assignments that can be done remotely from the comfort of your own home.

Interested? Please check out the list of potential volunteer assignments below with more detailed information. Then, click on How to Volunteer for instructions on how to apply to the program. If you have additional questions? Please contact emily.squires@maryland.gov.

Thank you so much for your consideration! We appreciate any time you can share with us!

Who We Are - Our department works with government records. Our job is to make sure that the records are organized and described in such a way that a person can find the information that they want. We also assist government agencies in determining the value of their records to identify which records need to be kept permanently and which can ultimately be destroyed.

Availability - We can generally accommodate as many or as few hours as you would like to volunteer. We are very flexible with scheduling. We have hours available Monday through Friday between 8:30 and 4:00.

What our volunteers do - There are a variety of projects for our volunteers. Volunteers to our department may work on the same project for a period of time or may get a new task each time that they come. We try to assign work to suit our volunteers tastes when there are any jobs that they particularly like or dislike. Below is a description of the main types of work.

Processing
We process records to protect them from deterioration, prepare them for scanning, or just to make them easier to find. Processing records may include any of the following tasks:

  • Removing staples and paperclips
  • Cutting pages from bindings
  • Unfolding and flattening
  • Organizing (alphabetically, chronologically, etc.)
  • Putting records into folders
  • Labeling folders based on our finding aid numbering system
  • Labeling folders based on information in the record
  • Boxing records

Inventories
A lot of our work involves inventories, since these are the keys to tracking what records we have. Your work with inventories may involve any of the following:

  • Creating inventories by viewing records (on paper, microfilm, etc.) and recording key information
  • Typing hand-written inventories
  • Completing inventories by finding and inserting missing information

Research
We may have you research the legislation, policies and procedures of other states and agencies to help us formulate our own best practices for appraisal and records management.

Data Entry
Some of our tasks involve doing data entry that is used to make records electronically searchable. Here are some examples from our current data entry projects:

  • Creating or confirming typed transcripts of records
  • Recording the beginning and end page numbers for each section in index books

Probate Record Volunteer
The Maryland State Archives is participating in a joint project with the Comptroller of the Treasury, the Registers of Wills, and FamilySearch to have the state's probate records from 1634 to 1940 indexed, scanned, and made available online. Volunteers can perform one or both of the following jobs:

    Processing
  • Removing staples and paperclips
  • Unfolding and flattening documents
  • Creating cover sheets for each record with identifying information found by reading the documents
  • Labeling folders

  • Indexing
  • Confirming the information on cover sheets by reading the documents
  • Typing information from the cover sheet into a spreadsheet

Description: The Maryland State Archives Reference Department is seeking volunteers to help conduct research in court record collections. Professional archivists will train volunteers to assist in searching for case numbers and locating case files using both hard copy and online court record indexes. This is a great opportunity to learn how to use our resources, particularly our more modern court record collections. Volunteer work must be completed on site in Annapolis. Supervisory staff will offer flexible scheduling for all those who wish to assist. The building is open Monday-Friday, 8:30am-4:30pm. We ask that the volunteer make themselves available at least one day a week, for a minimum two hour shift (four is preferred). We are willing to work directly with the candidate to accommodate individual schedules. Please contact us!

The Imaging Services Department's main function is to responsibly digitize and make accessible images that are of use and value to our researchers. Volunteers are needed for assistance with digital imaging projects ranging from original records to Microfilm. This is not only a great opportunity to help the Maryland State Archives but to also learn proper records handling and archival quality scanning techniques.

Training will be provided covering several scanners and quality control techniques.

What our Volunteers do - There are several stages to the digitization process from prepping originals to be scanned to adding descriptive metadata to images. Several long term projects need assistance with these important steps before making images accessible to the public. Below is a description of main types of work:

  • Digitization- Image acquisition spanning different collections using different methods of capture. Operators will learn digitization to archival standards
  • Post Scan Processing- This may include cropping of images, uploading of images to our archival repository and/or OCR/PDF creation
  • Image Quality Control- Review of images to assure quality. Metadata review and or adding descriptive Metadata to images

Availability - The Imaging Services Department can accommodate as many or as few hours as you would like to volunteer. We are very flexible with scheduling. We have volunteer hours available Monday through Friday between 8:30 and 5:00.

Preservation Volunteers are involved directly in caring for the condition and proper storage of our historic records. They will work closely with our conservator and Appraisal archivists to maintain and care for our records. As we move the records to new containers, we compare the box contents with our catalog to ensure that the labeling is accurate.

Help our team fulfill a long-term goal! We are currently working on a project to re-house a large group of records throughout our shelving areas into new boxes in order to protect them from deterioration and to make them easier to find. Work on this project may include any of the following tasks:

  • Boxing records
  • Unfolding and flattening
  • Putting records into folders
  • Labeling folders based on our finding aid numbering system
  • Labeling folders based on information in the records
  • Labeling boxes
  • Organizing (alphabetically, chronologically, etc.)

Availability - Our preference for this project is for volunteers who can work at least one day per week for at least 5-7 hours, Monday through Friday between 8:30 and 4:00.

The Maryland State Archives needs history lovers! Reference volunteers help provide access to Maryland’s historical records from its founding to recent years, and learn valuable skills regarding proper records handling, materials circulation, and local genealogy.

Job Description:

  • Assists Archives’ patrons by retrieving requested records from stacks and library.
  • Assists archivists with the Reference email program by assisting with research for requests received.
  • Provides feedback to webmaster / web committee regarding Guide content.
  • Reports any conditions of records and environmental conditions to the supervisor.
  • Observes circulation desk archivists to learn how to conduct Reference consultations with clients.
  • Monitors patron activity by observation, interaction, and circulation, such as walking around the Search Room, noting any rule violations and suspicious behavior and reporting any concerns to the senior archivist or supervisor on duty.
  • Assists with other minor Reference duties assigned by supervisor
  • Assists with social media promotions.
  • Keyboards transcriptions of circulation slips into Access database.
  • Provides friendly assistance to patrons in Search Room with basic Reference and computer questions after sufficient training

Orientation and Training

Volunteers will receive training from the reference volunteer supervisor, and will report to the supervisor and the search room coordinator for questions, assistance, and guidance.

Time Requirements

Preferred hours should at least include (but are not limited to) either 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., or 12:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., on the day or days which the volunteer and volunteer supervisor select from available shifts Tuesday through Friday.

Equipment Used

Computer workstations, office software including Access, web browsers, Google docs, ladders, and bookcarts.

Other Requirements

  • Must be able to lift up to fifty pounds.
  • May require the use of protective equipment such as goggles, gloves, masks, etc.
  • Transportation (by bus or personal vehicle).
  • Comfortable but professional attire
  • A familiarity in American history, archives, library science, community service, and/or customer service is preferred.

Benefits

  • Although the Archives is closed to the public on Mondays, volunteers may use the public computers and the Search Room library shelving on the first floor. (Please note that the building is completely closed on Mondays that fall on a state holiday.) During open hours, volunteers also may obtain plain copies of scanned records at no charge.
  • 20% off staff discount on publications and materials sold in the lobby bookstore.
  • Reference volunteers are encouraged to attend special tours and events, such as tours of historic buildings, lectures by guest speakers, and hands-on training from other departments. Volunteers are always encouraged to attend the monthly free Lunch and Learn programs.

The Study of the Legacy of Slavery in Maryland Research Project is currently looking for interested volunteers. This program seeks to preserve the experiences that have shaped the lives of Maryland's African American population. Black Marylanders have made significant contributions to the state in the political, economic, agricultural, educational, legal and domestic arenas. The Study of the Legacy of Slavery in Maryland research project looks to use the primary source documents found within the archive's holdings to unearth the names and places of those citizens, and to highlight their impact on the state.

Volunteers will assist us with this task by mining the archival sources and performing data entry using records found in our holdings. Volunteers will transcribe information from documents and full citations in the interactive database found on our website http://slavery2.msa.maryland.gov/pages/Search.aspx. Volunteers will work with records such as Federal Censuses, Vital and Probate records, Newspaper Runaway Advertisements, Maryland State Slave Statistics, Certificates of Freedom and Manumission Papers, Court Records, and many more. To learn more about the types of records that exist pertaining to Maryland's African American population, please visit our Reference and Research page found on the Maryland State Archive's website http://guide.msa.maryland.gov/pages/viewer.aspx?page=afridesc.

Our team will provide volunteers with proper records handling and data abstraction techniques, as well as access to the necessary equipment and software to help make these records and information available to the public.

We have many current and long-term opportunities, and for candidates with education or experience in Maryland, American, International or Political History; Library and Archival Sciences; Database Analytics; Museum Studies; American Studies; African American History/Africana Studies; Education.

We are also happy to work with high school, college and graduate students who need community service, academic credit, service learning, field study, and/or professional experience.

Availability: Volunteer work must be completed on site in Annapolis. The Study of the Legacy of Slavery in Maryland Research Program offers flexible scheduling for all those who wish to assist. The building is open Monday-Friday, 8:30am-4:30pm. We ask that the volunteer make themselves available at least one day a week, for a minimum four hour shift. We are willing to work directly with the candidate to accommodate individual schedules.

For more information about this project, please visit the Study of the Legacy of Slavery in Maryland Research Project website http://slavery.msa.maryland.gov/, or for questions about volunteering, please contact Emily Oland Squires, Director of Research and Education at 410-260-6443 or emily.squires@maryland.gov.

The Maryland State Archives is very pleased to announce that we are using the crowd-sourcing platform FromThePage to transcribe vital records, and we ask our friends, patrons, genealogists, and all those interested in making Maryland records accessible to help in this effort. This is a remote voluteer opportunity.

Projects on FromThePage rely on volunteers to transcribe displayed documents using a simple interface. For Maryland vital records this consists of a fielded form into which information such as names, dates, and certificate numbers are typed. Getting started as a volunteer is as easy as going to https://fromthepage.com/ and clicking on the “Sign Up” navigation button. You’ll give your name and email address and create a password for the site. Then just click on “Collections” and scroll down until you find the Maryland State Archives’ projects.

Our first project involves marriage certificates from 1978. No indexing exists for this year, requiring a time-consuming manual search to locate a certificate. Marriage certificates are among the most requested records here at the Maryland State Archives. These records are needed to apply for a driver’s license, passport, Social Security and health benefits, a mortgage, and for other important life events. Women especially need these documents to prove name changes over the course of a life that might include divorce, remarriage, or death of a spouse. Marriage certificates are also very valuable to genealogical research.

If you have any questions about the Archives’ FromThePage projects please contact Liz Coelho at liz.coelho@maryland.gov. Whether you transcribe a few certificates or many, your participation in this effort will be greatly appreciated. Join the Maryland State Archives Transcription Team on https://fromthepage.com/ today!

The Maryland State Archives is seeking volunteers to help us with a variety of exciting media projects! Would you like to help us promote the collections and work of the Archives online? Do you have talent or experience in video production, sound, editing, closed captioning, photography or social media? Can you help us create video content for our YouTube page? Can you help us record and broadcast events as part of our public programming? Are you interested in providing testing feedback for our website? We are interested in working with volunteers who are want to work in these forms of online media, please contact us! Volunteer work must be completed on site in Annapolis, with a proposed schedule falling within Monday through Friday between 8:30am and 4:30pm. Schedules are flexible, and may include requests to be present to record a specific event.

Benefits for volunteers include purchasing publications and merchandise at staff discounts, receiving the newsletter email, free regular copies of scanned records from our search room computers (please see an archivists in our search room for a volunteer printing account), invitations to internal staff professional development events, and using the search room computers and reference library on Mondays when it is closed to the public. (Please note, however, that original records are not available on Monday.)

To volunteer at the Archives please download and complete the volunteer application and return it to the Archives at emily.squires@maryland.gov or by mail to:
Emily Squires Maryland State Archives 350 Rowe Blvd. Annapolis, MD 21401

In addition to your application, please include an email or note that indicates what opportunities listed above that you are most interested in and what your proposed schedule would be (what specific days/hours you would like to volunteer). If you cannot begin immediately, please also indicate a desired start date, for example if you are are student who is looking to volunteer during a certain semester. If you have any questions, please contact: emily.squires@maryland.gov.

Download Volunteer Application: (PDF Format)    (Word Format)

Information resources authored by the Maryland State Archives, such as this web page, are presented for fair use in the public domain. When material is used, in whole or in part, proper citation and credit must be attributed to the Archives. PLEASE NOTE: Some of our information resources contain content from other sources which may be under copyright. Rights assessment, and full originating source citation, is the responsibility of the user.


© Copyright October 19, 2018 Maryland State Archives