Welcome to the Harvard Museums of Science & Culture’s Volunteer Team!

  • A volunteer shows specimens to visitors in our Arthropods Gallery.

    A volunteer shows specimens to visitors in our Arthropods Gallery.

Our volunteers have diverse backgrounds with different skills and interests. Volunteers provide a personalized experience for our visitors whether it be hands-on activities, facilitating drawing in the galleries or welcoming guests to our compelling public programs.

Please note, HMSC volunteers do not work with collections or behind-the-scenes with the research museums.

FAQs

Can I still be a volunteer if I can only work a few hours a month?

Yes! We have a wide-range of positions with varying hours. Please see each position for more details.

I love science, but I don’t have a background in it. Can I still volunteer?

Of course! We offer multiple training sessions for our content focused positions, but we also have other positions that do not require content expertise.

Can I work with collections?

Unfortunately, there are no positions that work with the collections department. Please contact the individual research museums for those opportunities.

Volunteer Opportunities

Family Festival & Outreach Volunteers

Family Festival & Outreach Volunteers facilitate hands-on educational and craft activities at HMSC family festivals or off-site events such as I Science, HMSC Summer Solstice, Day of the Dead. Training is specific to the event and conducted by the programmatic area served. Festival & Outreach Volunteers are scheduled for three to four-hour shifts.

Glass Flowers Gallery Greeters

Glass Flowers Gallery Greeters welcome visitors to the Glass Flowers exhibit, answer questions, anticipate and prevent precarious situations, and encourage the visitors to explore the gallery. Gallery Greeters are scheduled for weekly or biweekly two-hour shifts.

HMNH Gallery Guides

HMNH Gallery Guides engage visitors in a conversational way in the museum exhibits, often through facilitating hands-on activities at discovery carts. Multiple-session training courses are offered several times a year. Gallery Guides make a regular commitment of a weekly four-hour shift.

Nature Story Time Program Readers

Nature Story Time Program Readers share children’s storybooks with the youngest visitors and their families on Saturday and Sunday mornings at 11:00 am and afternoons at 2:00 pm. After reading, story readers guide families to visit related specimens in the HMNH galleries. Training is offered on an individual basis and in small group workshops. Readers may sign up for one or more story readings per month.

Public Program Ambassadors

Public Program Ambassadors welcome guests to fall and spring public programs and events such as lectures and author talks. Friendly and knowledgeable volunteers answer questions, provide directional assistance, and staff the HMSC information table before and after events and lectures to promote future HMSC events and membership. Training for this position is offered on an individual basis. Ambassadors may sign up for one or more programs per semester.

Sketching Facilitators

Sketching Facilitators invite visitors of all ages to look more closely at exhibits by modeling and inviting visitors to draw in the galleries. Sketching Facilitators participate on a regular schedule for two-hour shifts. Preparation for this position is conducted on an individual basis.

Town Liaisons

Town Liaisons promote exhibits, programs, and events of the HMSC within their home communities. They may place HMSC festival posters and event postcards in local libraries and other community locations. They may engage their local community news outlets about upcoming events. Town Liaisons carry out their community engagements as needed.

Museum Evaluators

Museum Evaluators participate in various audience research activities that may include development and administration of surveys and questionnaires during events. Training is specific to the event and conducted by staff of the programmatic area served. Museum Evaluators are scheduled for two- or three-hour shifts.

How to Apply

If you would like to apply for volunteer opportunities at the museums, complete the application form and email to Carol Carlson or fax it to (617) 496-8308. Candidates will submit a completed application (see above), be invited to meet with the Volunteer Program Coordinator for a 45-minute interview, and, as appropriate, be accepted to attend a training for the desired volunteer role.

Requirements

  • Minimum Age is 16
  • Completed Application Form
  • Interview with Volunteer Coordinator
  • Attend a mandatory Volunteer Orientation Training & Harvard Museum of Natural History Tour

HMSC Volunteer Program Information Session

The next information session for the Volunteer Program will be Saturday, September 29 from 3:00 - 4:30 pm at the Harvard Museum of Natural History, 26 Oxford Street, Cambridge, Ma.

Workplace Accommodation

The Harvard Museums of Science and Culture encourages persons with disabilities to participate in programs and activities. If you anticipate needing any type of accommodation to participate as a volunteer, please contact us at hmsc@hmsc.harvard.edu.