Volunteer at the Burke

Support the Burke’s public and research programs while getting an insider’s view of the Museum.

Do you have a love of natural history, a passion for research and an interest in the world around you? Become a Burke volunteer!

Volunteers are an essential part of the Burke, both in the galleries and behind the scenes. Volunteers assist with research, provide collections maintenance, engage Burke visitors and enhance our mission. Their skills, generosity and passion for the natural world make the Burke a dynamic and exciting center for the community.

In exchange for their generous service, Burke volunteers receive great perks including free museum admission, discounts in the store and café, invitations to exclusive events and annual recognition. In addition, volunteering at the Burke opens the door to a new museum community of fellow volunteers, staff and industry experts who share a similar passion for the natural world. 

Burke volunteers perform a wide variety of tasks and serve various functions in the museum. To help you make an informed and practical decision about your commitment, volunteer opportunities are posted as either ongoing or one-day positions.

  • Ongoing volunteers should be prepared to commit to at least eight (8) hours per month for a minimum six-month period.
  • One-day volunteer positions are also occasionally available for those who have the passion but are unable to make a longer commitment. 

Volunteer opportunities change frequently. See below for a list of current openings.

Questions? Contact the Volunteer Manager at burkevol@uw.edu or 206.543.3989.


Application Instructions

If you’re interested in an available volunteer opportunity, please complete the online volunteer application

One Day + Short Term Opportunities

Volunteer opportunities listed in this section are for single day and short-term commitments. Event/program training is offered by event managers. For more information, email the Volunteer Manager at burkevol@uw.edu.

Dino Weekend Interpreters

Want to get involved with the Burke this year? Become a Dino Weekend volunteer! The 32nd annual Dino Day is more popular than ever, and volunteers are needed to enhance our public offerings, assist staff with educational activities and work alongside experts at this fun, family event. All of the positions listed under Family Day events (see below) are available. In addition, Interpretation volunteers are needed to work alongside curators, graduate students and other experts to make the Burke collections come to life! Tables covered in treasures from the Burke’s collections will be set up throughout the first floor of the museum. Themed tables will include: dinos, non-dinos, invertebrates, fossil plants, living fossils, 3-D printing and much more! Training will be provided, and no previous experience is necessary. Volunteers should have a welcoming and enthusiastic attitude and a desire to engage even our youngest visitors! Shifts are available in the morning and afternoon on both Saturday, March 11, and Sunday, March 12, 2017. Please be sure to list the specific position for which you are applying in your volunteer application. 

Family Day Volunteers

Each year, the Burke Museum provides extraordinary days of access to its collections and experts: Bug BlastBirds at the BurkeMeet the MammalsArchaeology Day, Dino Day (now Dino Weekend!), and the Native Art Market. The Burke is looking for dedicated individuals to volunteer in three roles at these fun family events. Family Day Volunteers are asked to sign up for at least three shifts each year. We are now accepting volunteers for Dino Weekend (March 11-12) and the Native Art Market (May 13).

  • Event Set-Up Volunteers: If you’re a person who likes to create order out of chaos, this is the job for you! Event Set-Up Volunteers will help with the load in and set up of collections tables, signage, and education activities. Working under the supervision of the Public Programs Manager, these volunteers will help prepare us for the 700-4,000 visitors that will come to the event. Please note: Shifts are held the day prior to the day of the event.
  • Craft Table Volunteers: Are you a person who likes to bring out the playful and artistic side in others? The Burke needs volunteers to help with craft activities on family days. Help our youngest visitors have heaps of fun! Volunteers will work with a variety of themed craft and drawing activities by helping visitors color, draw and create while keeping the craft tables stocked and tidy. Shifts are available in the morning and afternoon. (Craft Table Volunteers are not needed for the Native Art Market). 


Gallery Fun!

The Burke provides extraordinary opportunities for volunteers to engage with their community through public museum events and gallery experiences. Gallery Fun volunteers support the Burke’s mission by directly engaging visitors of all ages, helping them to make fun easy-to-assemble crafts. You supply the enthusiasm; the Burke supplies the on-site craft materials and assembly instructions! Volunteer opportunities are available on Free First Thursdays and weekends. Volunteers are asked to commit to at least two 3-hour shifts per month. 

Ongoing Opportunities

The volunteer opportunities listed here are for long-term or ongoing appointments and require an additional interview process with the appropriate collections manager. For more information, please contact the Volunteer Manager at burkevol@uw.edu.

Arachnology Field Assistant

Ever wondered how scientists collect specimens and data in the field? The Arachnology Field Assistant will help collect and preserve spider specimens and drive to and from the collection site. Specimen collections are weather-dependent, all-day affairs and can take place any time except mid-August through September. Applicants must be over 18 years of age with a valid license, clean driving record access to a vehicle (UW affiliates may use a UCAR). A flexible schedule is a must. Volunteers will be reimbursed for gas mileage. Find out more about spider collecting trips

Lepidoptera Lab Assistant

The Lepidoptera Lab Assistant’s primary job is to relax, mount and label 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! Volunteer candidates must have prior expereince and will be asked to show samples of previous work. This position requires a commitment of four hours per week for six months or more. Current students and underage applicants are not accepted for this position.

kids of mixed ages stand transfixed while a uw student talks with them about the ice age

Make a difference, gain new skills and earn credits volunteering in the galleries and behind the scenes.
Photo: Burke Museum

volunteer wearing special glasses helps prepare a dinosaur bone

Get up-close with one-of-a-kind specimens, objects and artifacts.
Photo: Burke Museum

volunteer helps two young kids search for archaeology artifacts in a bin of dirt

Lend your enthusiasm for the Burke to special events, fundraising events and family days, such as Dino Day.
Photo: Lora Shinn

volunteer helps check guests in for the museum's annual fundraiser

Photo: Seattle Met

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