Every year, more than 1,000 volunteers with diverse backgrounds help the American Museum of Natural History meet its mission and goals. Find out how you can participate!
"I've been a volunteer at the Museum of Natural History for more than 10 years, and each year it gets more interesting and rewarding."
Volunteers work individually or in groups, performing a variety of duties throughout the Museum. The Museum is open to the public seven days a week, and volunteers contribute on all of those days, although behind-the-scenes roles are only available Monday through Friday during regular business hours.
Volunteers who work with the public conduct tours of the permanent halls and special exhibitions, staff information desks, engage students through hands-on learning and immersive experiences as teaching volunteers, and act as explainers in the fossil halls and in the earth and space halls. Make a difference in the lives of others and meet other volunteers who are also passionate about natural history, science, and learning!
Behind the Scenes
Volunteers who work behind the scenes will potentially aid the staff in any one of a variety of departments, including scientific collections, marketing, IT, HR, and others. Generally, organizational and administrative are required. Roles may include providing computer and clerical services, cataloging new and rare books in the library, or labeling of specimens in the collections.
- The minimum age is 16; there is no upper limit.
- You must provide a regular commitment of time, ranging from one-half day to several days per week, for at least one year (although longer commitments are sometimes required for certain positions).
- All applicants must complete our online application. Once you have completed the application, you may also contact us directly regarding specific openings listed below.
Prototyping and Evaluation Volunteers
The Education Department is looking for skilled, perceptive, and sociable evaluation volunteers to observe and interview visitors engaged in new programs and projects. Last fiscal year, for example, we spent 57 hours over 34 sessions observing more than 1,000 people (and interviewing more than 500 of them—more on those efforts here). We are now looking for a team of volunteers who can be called upon once a month to participate in collecting data with us to inform our findings and recommendations.
If you’re interested in or would like to learn more, please e-mail Barry Joseph at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include whether you prefer a weekend or weekday sessions (or both) and what, if any, prototyping or evaluation skills you might bring with you (students studying these practices in school are also welcome to apply).
Night at the Museum Sleepover Volunteers
The Sleepover department is looking for friendly, knowledgeable volunteers to welcome guests, help out at craft tables, and enrich our guests’ experience. We run more than 20 events per year, on Fridays or Saturdays. Children’s programs generally run from 6pm to 11pm while adult programs run from 6pm to 2am, but neither require a commitment for the entire time slot.
If you’re interested in or would like to learn more about volunteering for the Sleepover program, e-mail Pierce Lydon at email@example.com.
My Volunteer Story
Volunteering behind the scenes in Ornithology—meet Anne Via.
"When I first started helping out in Ornithology, I thought I might simply write a few labels, because Paul Sweet, the collection manager, had asked if I had good handwriting.
Over the years I have spent as a volunteer in Ornithology at the American Museum of Natural History, my skill set has expanded, and now I do many things to help out including filing Fish and Wildlife forms, arranging for the binding of journals, preparing of skeletons and skins, making labels for new specimens, cataloging specimens, and organizing areas of the collection. I still do use my handwriting for various things, including the handwritten catalog, specimen box labels, and data on specimen labels. I am always switching gears, learning something new, and most importantly, I am never bored. I feel like I add value but I also enjoy being around such intelligent people."
Can't Volunteer in Person?
We're looking for volunteers to help us create descriptions for over 30,000 images on the Museum's website so that all visitors can have the same access to information about the Museum's world-famous collections, exhibitions, educational programs, research initiatives and more. We hope you'll join our effort. Go to Project Describe to get started!