Since 1887, the Museum has depended on volunteer help for many of its projects and much of its development. Today, more than 200 volunteers participate regularly, making important contributions to the Museum. Some volunteers come in daily, and many have served for 20 or more years!


Volunteer Opportunities

If you are interested in volunteering at the Penn Museum, please review the volunteer opportunities listed and then submit an application for a specific opportunity. Applications will only be considered for these opportunities. The Penn Museum’s volunteer needs vary throughout the year. If you don’t see a position that is a good fit or of particular interest to you now, please plan to check back at a future time. Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis unless otherwise noted.

Public Programs Volunteer

Applications are now being accepted for volunteer opportunities between December 2016 – May 2017. Public Programs Volunteer applications are DUE by November 18, 2016!

Description: The Penn Museum has multiple public programs during the evenings on weekdays and over the weekends that could benefit from some extra helping hands. Public Program Volunteers help with many aspects of the events including:

  • Helping with event set-up
  • Welcoming guests and facilitating check-in
  • Guiding activities at kids’ craft/game tables
  • Directing guests throughout the museum
  • And more…

Required Training: Public Programs Volunteers will be actively interacting with Penn Museum visitors and are expected to represent the Museum positively. Volunteers will be informed of the standard of conduct expected when engaging with visitors and should act accordingly.

Qualifications: Ideal Public Programs Volunteers have an interest and passion for the Penn Museum programming and content as well as a general understanding of the Penn Museum Building. They are able to communicate comfortably with the general public including small children and adults. Many tasks require volunteers to walk or stand for long periods of time. Since the Penn Museum depends on volunteers to help make our public programs run smoothly, organized, responsible and punctual individuals are essential.

Commitment: The Penn Museum is looking for potential volunteers who would be interested in volunteering for at least 3 public programs throughout the year. Rather than having a set weekly schedule, public program volunteers are emailed periodically about upcoming programs that will need volunteer support. Volunteers can then actively sign-up to work at particular events that align with both their interests and schedule. Once signed up for a program, volunteers will be expected to honor that commitment by reviewing any volunteer instructions distributed in advance and arriving on time and prepared to work.

Cartifacts Volunteer

Description: Cartifacts is an informal, in-gallery public program that provides hands-on experiences for Penn Museum visitors of all ages. Cartifact Volunteers set up displays of five to ten touchable artifacts at carts located in the Museum’s galleries and explain the function and history of each object. Each cart is focused on a gallery theme. Cartifact Volunteers engage visitors in short-term discussions utilizing open-ended questions.

Training: Volunteers will be interviewed and introduced to all available carts. Volunteers will shadow a trained facilitator. Volunteers will study the training manual of the cart of his/her choice for up to two weeks. After two weeks, Cartifact Volunteers will be tested on their familiarity with the objects and their ability to facilitate discussions with visitors about the material.

Qualifications: This volunteer opportunity is open to mature high school students and adults. An ideal Cartifact Volunteer demonstrates good listening and conversational skills, has enthusiasm for the material, and has knowledge of the Penn Museum’s collections and floor plan.

Commitment: Commitment for at least one day a week is preferred, but not a requirement. Cartifact Volunteers may schedule themselves to work for any hours during the following times: Tuesday-Friday, 12pm-4pm; Saturday-Sunday, 10am-4pm; or special evening events.

Survey Assistant Volunteer

Description: Help the Penn Museum fulfill its mission of engaging and educating the public! Survey Assistants intercept Penn Museum visitors in the galleries and distribute and collect prepared paper surveys and questionnaires.

Required Training: Volunteers will be interviewed and introduced to the surveys and the goals of surveying.

Qualifications: This volunteer opportunity is open to adults and mature high school students. An ideal Survey Assistant demonstrates good listening and conversational skills, exhibits a friendly personality, is comfortable interacting with strangers, and has knowledge of the Penn Museum’s collections and floor plan. Survey Assistants should be able to stand for 2 or 3 hours at a time.

Requirements: Commitment to volunteer at least once a month, for about 2 or 3 hours per month. Assistance is needed for weekend and evening events. Events may include any of the following: World Culture Days, evening PM @ PM events, Family Second Sundays, or Gallery Romps.

Volunteer Benefits

Volunteers may request VIP parking passes. They receive a 10% discount on purchases made in the Museum's shops and cafe. Volunteers are also encouraged to join the Museum as members, and new volunteers receive a 10% discount on individual or family memberships.


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