Southern California
Medical Museum

YOU Should be a Museum Volunteer!


Serving as a volunteer docent (tour guide) for the Southern California Medical Museum is an exciting and mentally stimulating way to get involved with and engaged in your community!

The Museum needs people to assist with cataloging and monitoring the many fascinating exhibits and displays. They also need docents (tour guides) who will lead fun and educational tours of the Museum for school and youth groups, clubs, families, corporate gatherings and medical and career colleges. You will be meeting and working with people of all ages.

Most tours last approximately 1 to 3 hours, as you escort visitors past display cases and specific exhibits while explaining the background on each. Exhibits and items you will be describing include: Medical, dental and pharmacy artifacts, Wartime surgery kits, an impressive medical library, physician artwork, historical photographs from different historical eras in the past century, rare, antique bottles that were used to hold and dispense salves, ointments and elixirs, and some unusual and often hard to believe quackery devices.

As a docent, there is something new to learn every day about the history of medicine while you share that gift of knowledge with others. Discovering ways that our earlier generations cared for and treated patients helps us to understand the culture of healthcare today.

We invite you to be a part of helping current and future generations realize the importance of medicine in our society.


WHAT IS A DOCENT? A docent is a tour guide who escorts attendees through the museum and informs them about the artifacts and related history. Docents may be 18 years or older.

WHAT IF I AM NOT A PHYSICIAN OR I DON’T HAVE ANY MEDICAL BACKGROUND? Anyone can be a docent! We provide short, fun and educational training sessions, and we have written background and descriptive materials that you can use during your tours. We look for people who are friendly, outgoing and have an interest in the history of medicine.

HOW MUCH TIME DOES IT TAKE?  You can volunteer as much or as little as you like! You can sign up for tours during time slots of your choice, depending on when tours are scheduled (usually always during the day between 10am – 4pm).  Each tour usually lasts between 1-3 hours, depending on the size of the group. Some docents like to give tours several times a week where others enjoy serving as a tour guide once or twice a month.

HOW AM I SELECTED TO BE A DOCENT? You will need to fill out an application that we will provide to you, and then if your application is accepted, our Musuem Committee will interview you.  We will have you “shadow” a couple of tours before leading your own tour so that you have an opportunity to become familiar with the exhibits and be prepared to answer questions from your tour-goers.

DO I GET PAID OR RECEIVE TRAVEL EXPENSES? No, you are donating your time. However, you may wish to check with your tax preparer regarding possible volunteer credit. You will also gain valuable community service and volunteer experience.