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Become a Digital Volunteer

Do you have an interest in helping to make the Smithsonian a learning lab for every teacher in America? If so, volunteer to screen user-created collections to make sure they are appropriate for children and for viewing in school settings.

Needs and Objectives

The new Smithsonian Learning Lab is a free online toolkit offering visual exploration of more than a million digital museum resources such as artworks, artifacts, specimens, and documents—including explanatory content by Smithsonian experts. With the Lab's simple-to-use tools for saving and annotating these assets, both teachers and students can create their own online collections, organizing Smithsonian resources they find, those they upload, or sites and content of favorite providers. Then, they can customize and augment the resources with additional notes, quizzes, assignments and other interactive learning activities. A teacher might discover artifacts related to a historical event, create a lesson plan featuring scientific resources, and upload work to share with another classroom. Because the Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access (SCLDA) is committed to maintaining the reliability of the Smithsonian Learning Lab as a trusted education tool, we need dedicated digital partners to help us to screen for the suitability of each collection that is uploaded ("published").

Qualifications and Skills

The ideal candidate will love learning and be interested in the application of technology to education. Screeners should have an interest in education, schools, students, teachers, and making Smithsonian collections accessible. Screeners must

  • Be 21 years or older
  • Have a home computer and internet access (Google Chrome web browser recommended)
  • Have a Gmail address (provided to the Smithsonian)

Key Responsibilities

Remote volunteers (screeners) perform the following tasks:

  • Access collections for review as they are presented in a Google doc or email according to an agreed-upon schedule
  • Review collections for adherence to guidelines presented in a Smithsonian-provided rubric
  • Within the Google doc or by return email, flag any collection of concern, providing notes, to notify Smithsonian staff members

Training and Support

Applicants selected to become screeners will do the following:

  • Complete in-person or remote training on the use of Smithsonian Learning Lab, the rubric, and applicable Smithsonian policies
  • Actively participate in an orientation session and regular monthly check-ins which may be conducted in person, by telephone, or via online format

Time Commitment

Minimum pledge of 3 months of active involvement

  • Volunteers commit to scheduling themselves at least 2 days a week (Monday—Sunday). Volunteers check the site twice on every duty day. The first check must occur between 7:00 and 9:00a.m,. Eastern.. The second check must occur between 7:00 and 9:00p.m. Eastern. Logging onto the site to review may take five minutes, or two to three hours depending upon the volume and length of submissions.


This is a virtual opportunity that takes place remotely, over the internet, at your home and on your computer.

Application Steps

To be selected for the position:

  • Complete the online application
  • Complete in-person or remote interview
  • Prior to interview, demonstrate computer literacy by making a free user account at: and create one collection
  • Pass a background check conducted by the Smithsonian Office of Protection Services
  • Read and sign Smithsonian Directive 208 Appendix B, Smithsonian Standards of Conduct for Volunteers, including Confidentiality and Restrictions on Disclosure of Information


Contact Tracie Spinale, Learning Programs Manager, at or 202-633-5327.