One of the great contributions you can make as a volunteer is helping individuals and organizations create an accurate record of history for generations to come. Here are a few ways you can help others leave a permanent, accurate mark.
Add another chapter of American history.
The Journal of American History archives stories and essays of historical relevance. If you know an individual with an interesting story, you can volunteer to help him or her record it and submit it for review. Or become a Smithsonian Digital Volunteer and help make historical documents and biodiversity data more accessible. Is women’s history an area of particular interest? Why not join the Social Media committee of the National Women’s History Alliance or transcribe documents and handwritten letters from a Colorado suffrage leader.
It's a wide, wide world.
Zooniverse enables everyone to take part in real cutting-edge research in many fields. Check out their history-related opportunities, which are updated on a regular basis. You could get involved in anything from unlocking the history of the Cairo Geniza to tracking the criminal careers of Australian prisoners to transcribing the groundbreaking work of early women astronomers.
Make our literary heritage accessible to all.
There are thousands of free books available in the public domain, and one organization is dedicated to making them all available in audio format. You can help as a volunteer. It doesn’t require any experience with recording, audio engineering, acting or public speaking. All you need is a computer, a microphone, their free recording software, and your voice. A similar endeavor empowered entirely by volunteers is Project Gutenberg. You can help by producing and/or proofreading eBooks, which are then released for free into the public domain.
Keep it in the family.
Have a passion for genealogy? Assist Ancestry.com's World Archives Program (AWAP) in helping others discover their roots. Volunteers are provided with free software to access already-scanned images and transcribe them into a common, publicly-searchable database. Or work with BillionGraves to help preserve the world’s cemeteries, by photographing gravestones or transcribing their information so that those important historical records are available to families for generations to come.
Discover more opportunities in your community with this simple volunteer search. Just enter keyword “historian.”