FRSP Interpretive Volunteer: Ellwood

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National Park Service

This position is a National Park Service volunteer employee according to the provisions of Public Law 91-357, the Volunteers in the Parks Act of 1969.

The volunteer will represent the National Park Service, Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park (FRSP), and Friends of Wilderness Battlefield.

Specific operational tasks of this position include but are not limited to:


- Greet each visitor.

- Assist visitors in planning their visit to Ellwood and the park at large

- Orient visitors to Ellwood specifically, the larger landscape of the Wilderness Battlefield, and the park as a whole. This will include:

o Brief introduction to the house’s history.

o Offer the visitors a tour of the house.

o Orient visitors to the grounds.

o Provide information about any guided tours or other programs that might be happening.

House Tours:

- Offer all visitors to Ellwood a tour of the house.

- Cover the content objectives listed in the Ellwood Reference Manual

- Guide visitors through the entrance hallway, Ellwood Room, and Warren Room, and encourage them to explore the Wilderness Room and the Hospital Room

- Coordinate with the other volunteers present to ensure that tours are prompt and timely

Visitor Engagement:

- While orienting visitors to the park, volunteers will look for opportunities to share the park story and help visitors make connections to the park story.

- Be willing and able to initiate an informed conversation about the Civil War and Ellwood, gauging the visitors’ interests and inclinations.

- Lead visitors through the landscape providing interpretation of Ellwood’s history within the context of critical themes identified in supporting documents. (Only if there is sufficient coverage in the house.)

- Be able to recognize, or ask, when visitors want additional help or when they want to explore on their own.

- Rove the grounds to engage visitors when opportunity presents, and such engagement seems welcome.

Engagement with Bus Groups:

- Be able to quickly modify the normal tour process when bus tours arrive. Normal toursof the house are not undertaken with the larger groups due to logistics and time constraints.

- Typically, the lead interpreter will meet the bus and advise the tour operator of options for touring the house and grounds.

- It is usually recommended that the tour group be split into two groups: one is led by the tour operator, or third interpreter, to the cemetery to discuss the Jackson wounding; the second group is allowed to look around inside the manor house with at least two interpreters manning 'stations/rooms’. The groups then switch after 10 to 20 minutes.

- Visitors not with the tour group should not be ignored, rather inform them of the large group and provide options foe taking the normal tour; i.e. waiting for the tour group to finish or exploring the house along with the group while interpreters are working in their stations.

- Two interpreters must remain in the house at all times with the tour group.

Special Requirements:

- While most activities take place indoors, VIPs may be asked to work indoors and outdoors in a variety of weather. Summers are hot and humid and winters can be cold and snowy.

- Volunteers may be required to lift, move and organize different types of programming materials.

- Volunteers generally stand or sit intermittently for long periods of time.

- Volunteers maybe asked to assist with special events, special programs, education programs or other activities which could fall outside of their normal volunteer days.

- Volunteers must be comfortable talking about the institution of slavery, its relationship to the history of Ellwood, and its critical role during the Civil War.


- The VIP is expected to wear the FOWB volunteer uniform. Shirts and caps are provided. VIP will supply slacks and closed-toed, sturdy footwear. VIP will also wear nametags, which will be provided.

Other Considerations

As the primary contact with the public, the volunteer must always be professional and always be prepared to react to the needs of visitors and changing circumstances. In the rare case when an emergency arises, the volunteers must react quickly and according to the guidelines established in training.

VIP safety is paramount. The work for this position is conducted primarily inside a historic house so lighting can be dim and floors can be uneven. Work done outside on the grounds of the house and can involve slippery walkways, insects, heat, humidity and cold weather. We take safety seriously. Please abide by all rules governing safe practices. Failure to do so may be grounds for dismissal. Volunteers should be able to locate the following emergency response items in your building: the panic book, radio, telephone(s), fire extinguishers, first aid kit and Automated External Defibrillator and use these materials commensurate with their comfort, training, and familiarity with the equipment.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, volunteers are to follow the guidelines of the state, namely practice social distancing and maintain a distance of six feet between the volunteer and other people, to wear a face covering when such distancing cannot be maintained and limit such close contact to less than fifteen minutes, and to wash or sanitize hands before handing anything to another person.

As someone who is viewed as a representative of the National Park Service, VIPs are expected to follow the guidance of The Hatch Act, 5 U.S.C. §§ 7321-7326, which restricts involvement in partisan political activity while on the job or job site. Partisan political activity is any activity directed toward the success or failure of a partisan candidate, political party, or partisan political group; for example, discussing current political events with visitors or colleagues when in the park. VIPs, like federal employees, may not engage in political activity while on duty, in a government building, and/or while wearing the VIP uniform.

VIPs, just like park staff, are protected from harassment of any nature. If a volunteer experiences or is a witness of harassment, this must be reported. Please abide by all policy and law governing workplace harassment. Failure to do so my be grounds for dismissal. ( )

Start Date - 2021-04-01

End Date - 2022-03-31

Activities include: Tour Guide/Interpretation;Visitor Information

Difficulty_Level: Average

Hosts Housing Amenities: N/A

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