Garden Interpreters



Garden Interpreters will interact with visitors of all ages, encouraging them to explore plants, design, and horticulture through conversation, storytelling, and hands-on activities in Smithsonian Gardens near the National Mall. Interpreters will offer visitors immediate, informal, and interactive experience that may include artifacts, teaching objects, games, and directed activities in the gardens. Volunteer interpreters will also answer general questions about Smithsonian Gardens and enhance our guest’s experience.


Volunteer should be able to stand for extended periods of time. They should also have excellent interpersonal and communication skills; ability to comfortably engage visitors in their surroundings; stamina to spend up to two hours standing and walking in the gardens.


Interpreters are in in the gardens May through October. The position requires volunteers to work outdoors and to complete 2 (3-4 hour shifts) per month (weekday and weekend shifts available). Volunteers will also be required to attend several training sessions in April and May.  

Training Requirements

Volunteer interpreters will be required to attend several training sessions on content and interpretive techniques.  Volunteers must attend all the training before contact with the public and participate in on-going training sessions. A schedule of training sessions will be available in mid-March.


    Please contact the Smithsonian Gardens volunteer coordinator at for information on the next recruitment period for garden interpreters.

Already a Volunteer?

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“Working as a Smithsonian Garden Interpreter is very rewarding in that it not only offers opportunity to learn about garden design, what plants to select for best results, arts in the garden, but also it offers an unique opportunity to interact with visitors from all over the US and around the world.”

– Heidi, Garden Interpreter Volunteer

“I have enjoyed my experience at the greenhouse and I enjoy the people I work with. I love getting my hands on the plants that will later be seen by the public in the gardens and museums.”

– Laurel, Greenhouse Volunteer