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Volunteer

Volunteers help make the Burke Museum and its programs a success! Volunteer positions at the museum vary from working in research collections to leading school tours to helping with craft activities during public programs. If you are interested in volunteer opportunities, please directly contact the listed individual for each posting.

Event Volunteer - New Opportunities

The Burke periodically needs enthusiastic Museum fans to help with special events and family days. Past events include Washington State's 125th Birthday and Tusk After Dusk featuring LuLu's tusk! Volunteers at these events will be doing anything from cutting cake, serving drinks, and doing crafts with visitors to monitoring tables with specimens and telling people where the coolest things in the Museum are.

Go above and beyond with your love for the Burke and help out at one of our special events! We value your time and will make the experience worth your while. If this sounds like a good fit for you, please fill out this application and select "Events [Visitor Experience]"

Volunteers in the field
Volunteers on a herbarium foray.
Photo by David Giblin

Member: Burke Revealed Team (BuRT)

Task: BuRT works on projects in the gallery that are normally done behind the scenes in the depths of the Museum. Each research division at the Burke has ongoing work that requires sorting, identification, and occasional rehousing of collections. Past projects have included sorting krill specimens and counting eggs and transferring our extensive shell collection into upgraded storage materials.

Current project: For the next few months we'll be picking out microscopic protists from sediment collected at the bottom of Bellingham Bay for the Invertebrate Paleontology Foraminifera Project (more info here and here).

You: A social, bubbly, life-long learner and lover of all things natural history. You like to try new things and can't help but tell everyone about it. You have a keen attention to detail and work hard to ensure projects are done to the best of your ability. You ask questions when you don't know the answer and are excited to be part of a team that directly contributes to science.

Training: No prior education or experience required (cool, right?!) Each task will require training that will take a maximum of one hour and will be done by collections staff (also cool).

Apply: To be part of BuRT, fill out this application and select "Burke Revealed Team (BuRT) [Visitor Experience]"

 

Docent

Description: Docents make exhibits come alive for museum visitors of all ages. Duties include introducing tour groups to the exhibits and facilitating visitor learning through a combination of discussion and hands-on activities. This is a great opportunity for people interested in teaching in a non-traditional learning environment, and engaging others in an on-going experience with the rich natural and cultural history of Washington State. 

Desirable Skills: Enjoy working with children of all ages.

Minimum Requirements: Training consists of three training sessions, tour observations, and selected readings. After training, docents must work at least two tour shifts per month during the school year.

Contact: For more information and to apply, please contact burkevol@uw.edu.

 

Spider Collection Lab Assistant

Description: The main task of this volunteer position is labeling, filling, stoppering, and installing vials of preserved spiders, but it's really varied with all sorts of clerical, packing/unpacking, and miscellaneous tasks. You must be willing to work in a windowless basement room with sub-optimum lighting and a faint smell of mothballs.

Desirable Skills: Some biology background is a plus but the only real requirement is for a careful and precise worker with some interest in the subject.

Minimum Requirements: Applicants should plan on averaging one afternoon's work a week for a year or more. Current students, underage applicants and those wishing a summer-only volunteer job are not accepted for this position.

Contact: For an application, click here. For more information, please contact Rod Crawford at tiso@u.washington.edu or (206) 543-9853. Email completed application to Rod; background check will be done if/when you are interviewed.

 

Spider Collection Field Assistant

Description: The field assistant's job is to drive on field trips and help collect and preserve spider specimens. You will be reimbursed for gas or mileage; if you are UW-affiliated, you can use a U-car instead of your own if you wish. Field trips are all-day affairs (we return after dark) and can take place any time except mid-August through September. Precise dates and destinations depend on latest weather forecast, therefore we often only have a couple of days notice of trip details. Find out more about spider collecting trips here: http://crawford.tardigrade.net/journal/

Desirable Skills: Should be familiar with and at home in the outdoors, and not too tender-hearted to kill specimens in the name of science. Reliable persons who won't usually call trips off at the last minute are preferred.

Minimum Requirements: Must be able to drive, have access to a vehicle, and enough free time to be able to take an occasional entire day off for a field trip. No minimum term of service, and students are welcome to apply, but no underage applicants.

Contact: For an application, click here. For more information, please contact Rod Crawford at tiso@u.washington.edu or (206) 543-9853. Email completed application to Rod; no background check required.

 

Lepidoptera Lab Assistant

Description: Primary job is relaxing, mounting and labeling dried butterfly and moth specimens that have been stored dried for several to many years. Participate in making beautiful specimens take on useful, displayable form before your very eyes!

Desirable Skills: Must have previous experience mounting Lepidoptera. We do not have expendable specimens on which to train novices in this highly skilled and incredibly fastidious job. Prefer applicants who can show specimens or photos of previous work.

Minimum Requirements: Applicants should plan on averaging one afternoon's work a week for six months or more. Current students, underage applicants and those wishing a summer-only volunteer job are not accepted for this position.

Contact: For an application, click here. For more information, please contact Rod Crawford at tiso@u.washington.edu or (206) 543-9853. Email completed application to Rod; background check will be done if/when you are interviewed.

 

Genetic Resources Collection Assistant

This position is currently full, but please feel free to contact us with your name and statement of interest to be considered for future openings.

Job Description: The Burke Museum maintains a collection of over 65,000 frozen tissues of wild animals for molecular study. Curatorial assistants help the GRC manager organize and label tissues, and prepare tissues for loans.

Desirable Skills: Volunteers should possess a desire to help contribute to scientific research in biodiversity and evolution, be able to work independently, and have outstanding attention to detail. Prior experience in the biological sciences or with work in a laboratory setting is desirable, but not necessary. Volunteers must be college age or older and be willing to commit at least 3 hours per week for one year. 

Contact: For more information, contact Sharon Birks at sbirks@uw.edu.