Volunteers have been integral to the success of the Academy for 200 years. Nearly 400 volunteers, from ages 14 to 80+, contribute their time each year toward our mission. Dedicated volunteers assist visitors throughout the museum’s exhibit spaces and provide critical support behind the scenes in research departments and offices.
If you enjoy interacting with the public, especially children, volunteering on the museum floor may be the perfect fit. Volunteers serve as informal interpreters in the public spaces of the museum to educate guests of all ages about exhibits and natural science topics using hands-on activities. They work in our Special Exhibits Gallery, Butterflies! Exhibit, Science Live, and other areas throughout the museum.
Each year a few volunteers assist with our Summer Academy Explorers Camp program. This camp provides an educational summer experience for campers ages 6 to 12 at the Academy through week-long programs during July and August. Campers might conduct experiments with scientists, sketch with Academy artists, explore the museum’s research labs and animals and plant collections, or meet a variety of interesting live animals. They also take science on the road with weekly trips.
Volunteers have an exceptional opportunity to assist scientists in caring for the vast research collections of the Academy. These collections include 18 million specimens from around the world, including thousands of types, the specimens used as standards to describe the entire species. Depending upon your skills and interests, you can assist in a variety of tasks critical to the effective use of the collections—everything from cleaning and labeling to cataloging, sorting, and inventory.
Volunteers assist our live animal keepers in the day-to-day care of more than 100 animals, representing approximately 50 different species of birds, mammals, reptiles, and amphibians. They also help to maintain the center, which provides a home for these animals, which are mostly animals are either nonreleasable, rehabilitated wildlife or unwanted exotic pets that cannot survive in the wild and are in need of long-term care. It’s a lot of hard work but an exceptional learning opportunity. Internships for college students pursuing careers with animals are also available. The minimum age for volunteering in this area is 16. This is a very popular area for volunteers, so openings for new ones are always limited!