NMIH volunteers are vital to the success of the museum. They can become involved in a variety of projects ranging from educational outreach and hospitality to the care and conservation of collections. NMIH staff work with volunteers closely, match volunteers with projects that reflect their particular interests and skills, and provide the necessary training to support volunteer efforts.
Volunteers take part in an orientation and training process that familiarizes them with the museum’s operation and logistical information, the NMIH collection, exhibits and regular programming, relevant historical content, and acquaints them with project-specific training on an as-needed basis.
Volunteer Job Descriptions (availability may vary)
Volunteer positions include the following titles and job descriptions:
Gallery Guides: Gallery guides are among the most important volunteers at the museum. They greet the visitors, orient them to the exhibits and aid the public to participate in interactive stations. They are our eyes and ears on the floor and can help us to improve visitor experience by conveying to the staff suggestions and queries that the public brings to their attention. Gallery guides are trained by the Education Coordinator, and report to the Coordinator of Visitor Services for scheduling.
Docents: The word ‘docent’ is derived from the Latin word ‘docere,’ meaning ‘to teach.’ Docents are knowledgeable, enthusiastic people who have been trained by the Museum Education staff to lead group tours through the exhibit spaces. They introduce and deepen the experience of the exhibition for tour groups of all ages. Docents at NMIH are recognized for their dedication to their role as educators, their willingness to attend monthly training sessions, and their commitment to serve a minimum of 4 shifts per month. Docents are trained by the Education Coordinator and report to the Coordinator of Visitor Services for scheduling.
Hospitality Volunteers: Hospitality Volunteers are the museum’s friendly and knowledgeable ambassadors to the public. Equipped with specific information about NMIH, its exhibits, programs and events, the Hospitality Volunteers engage with the public at various events, festivals and on-site tours. The Hospitality Volunteers are trained by and report the Coordinator of Visitor Experiences. Specific tasks range from booth set-up and break-down to public speaking, data collection, and more.
Mechanical Volunteers: Mechanical volunteers work with our Museum Specialist to restore industrial machines and artifacts for museum exhibits or programs. This requires a high degree of technical and mechanical skill, working knowledge of machines, and tools, attention to detail, a willingness to learn, positive attitude, and ability to work independently. Owning tools is a plus, such as basic hand tools, wrenches, sockets, power tools, etc. At the discretion of the Museum staff, this volunteer may also operate forklifts, gantry cranes and do rigging. Ability to lift 50lbs required. Experience working on restoration projects for other museums or other organizations is preferred.
Collections and Conservation Internship: Collections and Conservation interns will participate in collection organization or conservation projects. This is a hands-on opportunity to learn and implement basic conservation techniques from professional conservators under the supervision of museum staff members. These interns will be capable of standing for extended periods of time and working well with handling artifacts. They will be trained to enter data , handle artifacts and archival documents, and conduct basic conservation techniques according to museum standards and practice. These interns will be supervised by the Collections Coordinator. Internships are part-time, 3-6 month unpaid positions open to college students. Applications are received and reviewed on a rolling basis.
Education and Program Internship: Education and program interns will gain in-depth fieldwork experience in designing, facilitating, and teaching programs that address the needs of adult, school, and youth audiences. They will also have the opportunity to participate in hands-on programs and conduct qualitative research in order to learn about museum education theory and practice. Internships are part-time, 3-6 month unpaid positions open to high school and college students. Applications are received and reviewed on a rolling basis.
For additional questions about becoming a volunteer, please contact Kitsa Behreinger at email@example.com or 610.694.6644.