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 a current open position or simply want to receive updates on future projects, 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.

Geology Scout Day Volunteers

Help us out on Saturday, October 1, by learning some fun facts about the earth sciences and sharing them with scouts and other Burke visitors! Event participants will have a chance to explore the Burke's amazing gem collections, learn to tell real gems from imitations, find out where to look for gold, make a fossil to take home, and get prepared for earthquakes and other extreme events. Volunteers are needed to help facilitate this fun an educational event in two positions:

  • Volunteer Facilitators will be working in teams of two to facilitate activity stations for scouts and the general public throughout the museum’s galleries. Volunteers will be expected to actively engage the public in conversations about their station and help to answer questions about their topic. No prior knowledge of the Burke or Geology is needed to be a facilitator for this program!  Volunteers will receive a one page informational sheet about their assigned station at the beginning of their shift and will be given at least 20 minutes to review the information and ask questions of education staff and geologists before interacting with the public. Chairs will be available for all facilitators who want one. 
  • General Event Volunteers will be greeting visitors, showing them to activity stations, answering general questions about the program/museum, administering program surveys, checking in with visitors to see if they need help, and assisting staff and other volunteers at the sign in table and activity stations. 

Shifts are available in the morning or afternoon for both positions. Any help with set-up/take-down that volunteers are willing or able to give would be great, but is not required. 

Family Day Volunteers

Each year, the Burke Museum provides extraordinary days of access to its collections and experts: Bug Blast, Birds at the Burke, Meet the Mammals, Archaeology Day, Artifact ID DayDino 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. We are now accepting volunteers for Birds at the Burke (Saturday, October 8), Meet the Mammals (Saturday, November 5) and Archaeology Day (Saturday, January 21).

  • 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.
  • Event Survey Volunteers: The Burke regularly seeks feedback from visitors to improve and refine our events. Help us evaluate visitor experiences by conducting short exit surveys with visitors. Exit surveys are administered on iPads and are a great way to engage our visitors and enhance the Burke experience! If you are not familiar with iPads and how they work, this is a great way to learn the basics. Shifts are available in the morning and afternoon.
  • 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). 

Family Day Volunteers are asked to sign up for at least three shifts each year. Volunteers will receive one complimentary guest pass for each shift served. 

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 every Saturday and Sunday through the end of November. 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

Back to Top