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Volunteer

We rely on our team of more than 200 volunteers every day to fulfill our mission to preserve, restore, enhance, and share Oakland Cemetery and its rich history.  Volunteers lead tours, staff the Visitors Center, and work in the gardens. Volunteers also lend a hand at the special events hosted throughout the year as important fundraisers.

In addition to learning about the history, architecture, and natural environment of one of Atlanta’s most important historic sites and meeting new people while working with a diverse, talented, and fun group of friends, Historic Oakland Foundation volunteers are invited to special volunteer appreciation events and outings throughout the year. They also receive free guided overview and specialty tours and discounted fees for ticketed tours.

Our festivals, 5K race, and our signature Halloween tours would not be possible without the help of our volunteers. Whether you love history, enjoy gardening, or just want to have fun with a great group of people, there is a place for you in the Oakland volunteer family!

Volunteer Opportunities

Tour Guides

Guides lead both our general overview tour and a variety of special topic tours, ranging from baseball to brewing, and focusing on the history of the city’s African American and Jewish communities. If you are friendly, outgoing, and enjoy meeting new people and sharing Oakland with them, this is the job for you!

Training and Commitment
Tour guides must be able to walk for approximately ninety (90) minutes, in varied weather conditions, on potentially uneven surfaces, and be comfortable speaking in front of a group.

Our tour guides engage with diverse groups from around the globe, and present accurate, up-to-date information with enthusiasm. Prospective tour guides must attend a general orientation, followed by three group training sessions with an experienced guide. Following the training sessions, trainees must successfully lead two tours with a guide mentor.

Tour guides must commit to conduct a minimum of one tour per month. Guides should remain current on information included in the tour and are encouraged to take a number of tours with experienced guides (at no charge).

Visitor Center & Museum Shop

Our Visitors Center & Museum Shop volunteers are the public face of Oakland Cemetery, welcoming all visitors and providing information about the cemetery and surrounding area. In the Visitors Center & Museum Shop, volunteers encourage Historic Oakland Foundation membership and volunteer opportunities, sell Museum Shop merchandise, and assist the staff with receptionist services.

Training and Commitment
Prospective Visitors Center volunteers attend a general orientation and a training session with the Visitors Center & Museum Shop Manager.  General orientation and training sessions for prospective tour guides and Visitors Center & Museum Shop volunteers are held in January. After training and orientation, volunteers will work three shifts with an experienced volunteer. Volunteers must learn to use Square for merchandise sales.

Volunteers must commit to at least one 4-hour shift per month.

Special Events

Oakland hosts multiple events throughout the year to both share the history and beauty of the cemetery with the public and to raise the funds necessary to preserve, restore, and enhance it. The success of these events depends on our volunteers, who may participate in a variety of ways, including planning, set-up and tear-down, bartending, merchandise sales, and children’s activities. Whatever your skills and interests may be, there is an opportunity for you at an Oakland event.

Training
Certain positions may involve advance training on Square or draft truck operations.

Gardens

Volunteers are always welcome and there are many options for those who would like to help in the gardens. Three-hour workdays are planned throughout the year and all willing hands are welcome – with or without prior experience. This can be a wonderful way to make new friends while increasing your gardening knowledge. An experienced leader leads and teaches groups of volunteers in small teams. Individual projects are also possible for those with more experience.

Preservation and Restoration

Restoration volunteers support our Preservation team with small hardscape restoration projects. This may include resetting small headstones, minor mortar work, and cleaning. The goal is to aid the PRO (Preservation, Restoration, Operations) Team with their ongoing restoration efforts and teach volunteers skills that can make a large impact on Oakland Cemetery’s historic hardscape. As volunteers build their skills, there may be opportunities for independent work such as headstone cleaning or documentation. We welcome volunteers or all skills and abilities and on-the-job training will be provided for each volunteer.

Volunteer at Oakland

For more details on volunteering at Oakland Cemetery, please email Richard Harker at rharker@oaklandcemetery.com. For details on volunteering in the gardens, contact gardens@oaklandcemetery.com.

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