Meet Volunteer Coordinator Andrew White

Andrew White is The Rosenbach’s volunteer coordinator. He recruits, trains, and manages our team of 40 guides who give our hourly tours.

After graduating from Rutgers University with a degree in English and medieval studies, he worked for some time in the natural sciences. While at The Philadelphia Zoo, Andrew led their late-night programming, teaching lessons about ecosystems and animals. “There are a lot of parallels between doing a live animal presentation and a Behind the Bookcase Tour at The Rosenbach. In both situations I have to protect the animal or the object from any mishaps. Of course at The Rosenbach there is no danger of the rare books hurting the visitors!”

While working at The Academy of Natural sciences Andrew led their team of volunteers. One of his favorite objects there was the Symmes Hollow Earth Globe, an object from the 1820s that depicts the theory that one could enter the earth from the poles. Edgar Allan Poe explores this theory in one of his short stories MS Found in a Bottle, which can be found in The Rosenbach’s collection!

Andrew became a member of the Rosenstaff in 2012. “I had always wanted to work at The Rosenbach because I’m an art and literature guy. Learning about natural science was absolutely fascinating, it was an education for me. But working at The Rosenbach felt like coming home.”

Andrew is passionate about working with our guides. “It’s beyond fun. At The Rosenbach, we are dedicated to building a community of lifelong learners. I get to work with that community through our volunteers every single day.” With a potential for 38 tours a week, our guides are quite busy. We have two to three guides throughout the day. Andrew runs a continuing education program for the team where they meet with a curator or have the opportunity to study objects close up and in-depth. “They are constantly finding new information that they are so excited to share with the public. Our volunteers are really wonderful.”

In addition to leading our volunteers, Andrew is also a frequent contributor to our blog, leads some of the Behind the Bookcase: Hands-On Tours, and occasionally gives a house tour himself! While giving a house tour Andrew is particularly keen to share our portrait of Rebecca Gratz by Thomas Sully. “She devoted her life to philanthropy for women and children in Philadelphia. For me, this portrait has a kind of spiritual charge to it and I always love sharing that with our visitors!”

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