Tour Guide

Tour Guides lead engaging, informative tours focused on the Island's rich history as a military base and transformation into a dynamic public space. Island tours, offered free to visitors, preserve the Island rich history, while building public understanding and appreciation for Governors Island.


Position Description:

Tour Guides:

  • Lead engaging tours of the historic district and the new park for the public and community groups
  • Learn about the Island's rich history, current programs, and plans for the future
  • Answer visitor questions and provide detailed information about Governors Island
  • Play an integral role in building community understanding of Governors Island through education and information sharing

This is an on-Island position. Tour Guide shifts take place on weekends and weekdays on a regular schedule. Spring through Fall, tours are scheduled every Saturday and Sunday at 10:45am, 12:45pm, and 2:45pm. Weekday tours are offered on a seasonal basis. 

Bilingual tour guides are especially encouraged to apply.

Volunteer Expectations

Tour Guides are expected to commit to at least 10 volunteer hours each month. This is equivalent to about 3 tours each month. This regular commitment ensures appropriate coverage to maintain our tour schedule.


Successful Tour Guide volunteers: 

  • Love Governors Island and are eager to learn more about its history, programming, and future
  • Have experience with public speaking, historical interpretation, and/or education 
  • Stay up-to-date on Island announcements to ensure accurate information
  • Enjoy having conversations with Island visitors and being a resource to them
  • Arrive to shifts as scheduled

While an initial understanding of Governors Island is helpful, it is not necessary to become a tour guide. Following training, Tour Guides are expected to independently follow Island announcements (ie press releases, social media posts, newsletter) to receive the most updated Island information.

Volunteers are expected to be confident public speakers, serve as ambassadors to the Island, and treat all visitors with respect and hospitality.


Volunteers must undergo a three stage training process, consisting of:

  1. Independent review/study of the Governors Island Tour Script. Volunteers are expected to memorize and practice delivering information on the Island's history, programming, and future. This script is made available to prospective volunteers after submitting an application.
  2. Shadow two practice tours. Attend tours led by current guides in order to take notes and observe tours in action. New guides should consult the Friends of Governors Island staff in order to schedule these tours.
  3. Lead a practice tour for Friends of Governors Island staff. As a final step, new Tour Guides must lead a tour of the Island for staff before being approved to lead tours for the public.

Post-approval, tour guides receive consistent feedback and coaching from Island staff.

All Tour Guide volunteers receive a free volunteer T-shirt and name tag at their first volunteer shift. This shift not only acts as your uniform, it allows you to board the Governors Island ferry for free. This applies to Trust for Governors Island-operated ferries and is not applicable to New York City Ferry.

If you have any questions about this position, please reach out to