Volunteer teaching kids about bugs

Explore the Volunteer Program of the Harvard Museums of Science & Culture


The museums welcome enthusiastic people with various language skills, interests, and levels of education to apply as volunteers. The minimum age for acceptance into the volunteer program is 16.


Museum volunteers do not work behind-the-scenes with the museum research departments or curatorial staff. 

Volunteer Program Information Session

An Information Session to find out more about the HMSC volunteer positions will be held on Saturday, May 20, 2017.  The Information session takes place from 2:30 – 4:00pm in Classroom A on the main 3rd floor of the Museum.  RSVP requested for any session.

HMSC Volunteer Application Process

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.

Volunteer Opportunities for 2017:

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.

  • The next training will be offered on Wednesday evenings from 5:15 – 8:00pm in late May and June, 2017. 

Nature Story Time Program Readers share children’s storybooks with the youngest visitors and their families on Saturday and Sunday mornings at 11:00am and afternoons at 2:00pm. 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.

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. 

Family Festival Volunteers facilitate hands-on educational and craft activities at HMSC festivals such as I Science, HMSC Summer Solstice, Day of the Dead and other special museum events. Training is specific to the event and conducted by the programmatic area served. 

  • The next family festival is the HMSC Summer Solstice Festival on Wednesday, June 21, 2017 from 5 – 9pm.

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.

Volunteer Intern Position available for Summer and Fall 2017

The Nature Story Time Program Volunteer Intern position is open to one or two college interns to work with the HMSC volunteer program coordinator to support the thriving ongoing Nature Story Time program at the Harvard Museum of Natural History.  The Nature Story Time program takes place every Saturday and Sunday at 11:00am and 2:00pm in the HMNH galleries.  An intern in this position will work within the established frameworks of a successful program with some opportunities to evaluate and further develop the program.  An intern in this position will be supported through training, supervision, and mentorship by the volunteer program coordinator.

Primary Responsibilities under supervision of Volunteer Program Coordinator:

  • Schedule volunteer readers for Nature Story Time on a weekly basis
  • Prepare, assist, and observe volunteer readers at Nature Story Time
  • Participate in Nature Story Time trainings with the opportunity to co-develop teaching methods
  • Support new volunteers to develop curriculum for Nature Story Time programs
  • Mentor volunteer readers to improve their family engagement skills
  • Fill in as a reader when volunteer readers are not available 

Schedule and hours:

  • Six to eight hours per week (more can be discussed)
  • Five to be on one weekend day, Saturday or Sunday 10:00am – 3:00pm
  • The rest flexible, preferably Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday between 9am and 5pm

Volunteer Intern Application Process

If you would like to apply for volunteer intern 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), and if appropriate be invited to meet with the Volunteer Program Coordinator for a 45-minute interview.