Welcome! The History Center is requiring that all visitors continue to wear masks inside the Tompkins Center for History & Culture. Our visitors include young audiences and others who are unable to be vaccinated. We appreciate your respect and awareness in following our Health & Safety Protocols


Dress up in period costumes, give tours on local history, delve into our archival collections, or learn how to geo-rectify maps from the 19th century!

Whether you're a student, historian, archivist, or just a local with a passion for history we have volunteer positions to fit every schedule and interest!

We offer both VIRTUAL and IN-PERSON volunteer opportunities

Details on each position can be found below.


We are always looking for volunteer docents to greet the public and share knowledge with visitors in the Exhibit Hall. No previous experience or familiarity with local history necessary.

The opportunity is flexible; docents can specialize in one topic or a particular exhibit, give weekly tours, or volunteer only during the semester or summer if they live elsewhere for part of the year. Volunteer shifts can range from 2-10 hours per week, and are organized in coordination with docents availability and personal needs.

Contact with interest or questions.

Serving as a docent is eligible for community service/service-learning hours, Federal Work-Study employment, and college internship credits. We have had docents ages 15 to 70+, with all levels of education and sorts of interests. No prior experience in museums or history is needed! We offer ongoing, optional trainings on topics and skills of interest to docents. 

**Please use the application link below also for the Assistant to The History Center internship position.**

Docent Application


Visit the Volunteer with HistoryForge page to learn more about these opportunities, or contact the HistoryForge Project Coordinator at

  • Census Transcription
  • Georectification/Map Layer Construction
  • Recording Information Encoded in Historic Maps
  • Adding Archival Resources

HistoryForge Volunteer Application


All our volunteer opportunities can qualify as internship and/or course credits. Contact the staff member in charge of the volunteer program you're interested in to communicate about expectations and course requirements. If you're interested in volunteering in an area not listed here, please get in touch with to share some of your interests and we can work with you to develop a project tailored to your skills and interests.  There is no age or prior experience requirement for internships with The History Center in Tompkins County. 

2021 & 2022 Internships

The following campuses and community organizations may have funding opportunities available to compensate internships and/or research projects. We encourage student workers to pursue alternate funding sources to support their projects and time with The History Center. 



Do you love to listen to stories? Help us transcribe our recorded Oral Histories of Tompkins County interviews to add to our archival audio collections.

We are currently unable to train new volunteers on how to do oral history transcriptions, and can only accept volunteers for this project with previous audio transcription experience. Volunteers can work remotely for transcription work. This opportunity can also become an internship or independent project. Learn more about our Oral History collections here

If you are interested in working with our Oral History collections, please contact


The History Center Gift Shop sells these popular Ithaca Kitties to support our programs and events. If you have a sewing machine at home, and love to sew this is the perfect volunteer position for you! 

Do you know the Tale of Caesar Grimalkin, the worlds most famous polydactyl cat? The Ithaca Kitty was patented in Ithaca New York in 1892. In 2017 volunteers redesigned the iconic three-panel design to include an Ithaca Kitty with Caesars polydactyl paws.

The History Center provides volunteers with training, cloth panels, and stuffing material for the toys. If interested please contact


  **This program is not available during 2021**  

Take some local history, a landmark building, a flair for the dramatic and a roomful of kids. Mix well and you will have an unforgettable trip to the past. The History Center is looking for teachers at our 1827 Eight Square Schoolhouse on Hanshaw Road in Dryden. In the spring and fall, area fourth grade and home school children spend a day immersed in rural one-room school education of over a century ago via our Living History program.

If you are interested in becoming part of our unique teaching team, please contact (607) 273-8284 or


  **This program is not available during 2021**  

The History Center in Tompkins County and Historic Ithaca offer this partnered volunteer program to train Tompkins County Heritage Ambassadors. The Ambassadors support local history and heritage events.

Once the training is completed, Heritage Ambassadors serve as volunteer docents for Ithaca Heritage, Historic Ithaca, and The History Center public events, including HI's That Old House Tour, THC's HistoryForge Days, and Ithaca Heritage tours. You'll join a motivated group of more than two dozen already-trained Heritage Ambassadors eager to share area history with residents and visitors.

Contact if you'd like to be notified when the next training dates are set. 


For more information about other potential volunteer and internship opportunities, please contact the appropriate department.

Exhibit Hall Docents, Heritage Ambassadors, Communications, Marketing, Visitor Services, Oral History, Community Outreach, & General Volunteer Interest:
Zoë Van Nostrand, 607 273 8284 ext. 229 or

Archivists, Researchers, Research Library, Archives:
Donna Eschenbrenner, 607 273 8284 ext. 228 or

Youth Education, Youth Programs, Eight Square Schoolhouse - School Marms & Masters:

HistoryForge, Census Transcription, Mapping, Geo-rectification, Ithaca in the 20th century                                                     Eve Snyder,

Exhibit Curation, Photography, Graphic Design:
Cindy Kjellander-Cantu, 607 273-8284 ext. 223 or

Fundraising/Development, Board of Directors:
Ben Sandberg, 607 273 8284 ext. 222 or

Physical Address

Located inside the Tompkins Center for History & Culture

110 North Tioga Street

(On the Ithaca Commons) 

Ithaca NY, 14850 USA

Gayogo̱hó:nǫ' Territory


Exhibit Hall Wednesday-Saturday 10am-5pm - CLOSED Sun-Tues

Cornell Local History Research Library & Archives - By appointment only. Please contact


Email: Refer to Contact page for individual emails, General inquiries to

Phone: 607-273-8284


Find us on social media @tompkinshistory

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