California State Parks

Home : Volunteer

Opportunities at the Mansion

The Leland Stanford Mansion State Historic Park, a unit of the California Department of Parks and Recreation, offers many opportunities for those seeking to offer their time and experience as volunteers to this historic park. Volunteers may perform historic room tours, greet visitors at the information desk, interpret historic rooms, and provide other services that will enrich the experience of thousands of visitors to the Leland Stanford Mansion from all over the world.

Volunteers can help bring this special park to life. Share with the public the fascinating history of the mansion and its residents over the years. Share its exciting new role as not only an elegant house museum, but also as the State’s diplomatic and business reception center that will welcome leaders from around the world. We invite you to become a part of this new chapter in the life of the Leland Stanford Mansion.

Listed below are volunteer opportunities at the Mansion:

Stanford Mansion Interpreting Docent - brings the rooms of the Leland Stanford Mansion to life. He or she greets visitors and explains the history of the Leland Stanford Mansion, its family, and the roles of the Sisters of Mercy/Sisters of Social Services while stationed at one of the Mansion’s reproduction historic rooms, sometimes while wearing a period costume (optional). Docents explain the significance of the rooms to visitors while assisting in the protection and preservation of the Mansion’s historic artifacts.

Living History Interpretive Docent - portrays an historical character at a living history event while wearing period costume (provided). Living History Interpreting provides a look at our history through the eyes of the past, giving the visitor a feeling of being connected to a specific time or event in the Mansion’s history.

Information Desk Host - staffs the information desk located in the Stanford Mansion’s orientation center. Due to the confines and nature of the Leland Stanford Mansion, self-guided tours are not possible, requiring all visitors to sign up for guided tours. The Information Desk Host is often the first contact with our visitors and a positive experience sets the tone for a more fulfilling and controlled visit to the Mansion. This docent will be called upon to answer questions, provide directions, and distribute informational brochures to visitors from around the world.

Stanford Mansion Tour Docent - leads public tours of the Stanford Mansion’s historic rooms depicting the lifestyle of the Stanford family in the 1870s. This docent explains the evolution of the Stanford Mansion—from its original construction (Fogus years) to the changes and growth of the home under the Stanfords and the Mansion’s service to the community under the Sisters of Mercy/Sisters of Social Services—to its present-day use as a living museum and protocol events center. The Stanford Mansion offers tours led by Guides and trained Docents only. This position usually works with a Mansion Tour Back-Up Volunteer to assure the security of the historic rooms, sometimes while wearing period costumes (optional).

Stanford Mansion Tour Back-Up - paired with a Stanford Mansion Guide or Tour Docent, this volunteer follows public tours of the Stanford Mansion’s historic rooms. This volunteer monitors tour groups to provide safety and security for historic artifacts in conjunction with scheduled Guides or Tour Docents, sometimes wearing a period costume (optional). While the Guide or Docent leads the tour, the Tour Back-Up provides the very important function of monitoring security for the historic artifacts in the Mansion’s rooms and providing other assistance to visitors.

Volunteer Program Scheduling Assistant - keeps track of volunteer assignments on the Mansion’s monthly volunteer calendar and contacts fellow volunteers to let them know when their help is needed. This greatly helps Mansion staff by providing a consistent and reliable volunteer staffing schedule for its regularly offered volunteer programs. This in turn helps to provide a more positive experience for volunteers, staff, and visitors to the Leland Stanford Mansion.

Park Walk Docent - leads 30-minute interpretive walks through this historic park and explains the history and selected plant life of the Mansion’s gardens and grounds and the exterior architecture of the Mansion. When not leading walks, this docent spends time in this park answering questions and providing informal interpretation while sometimes wearing period costumes (optional). Presentations provided by Park Walk Docents help to expand the variety and availability of the Mansion’s interpretive programs.

School/Adult Group Greeter - meets and greets visiting school and adult groups outside the Mansion, directs the group’s leader to the appropriate registration desk, and provides the group with guidelines for their visit. The greeter organizes the group for viewing orientation films, provides assistance on the information kiosks, and assists groups exploring the three stations: Business and Politics, House to Home, and Raised to New Heights. The greeter acquaints the group with the special guidelines they should follow for an optimal visit to the Orientation Center and Mansion, helping to prevent disruptive or unsafe behavior inside the buildings. The greeter also helps the visitors, and children in particular, gain appreciation of the special place they are about to visit.