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.

Education Summer Camp Volunteer

The Burke Museum is looking for volunteers to help with our hands-on camps this summer! Volunteers must be available for a minimum of three shifts during a single week of camp. Responsibilities may include: assisting with crafts, coloring, games, story-time, and scavenger hunts, setting up for activities, cleaning up after activities, helping camp councilors maintain order, and being a friend to campers who need additional support. Descriptions of each camp are available on the Camps page. 


Event volunteers are needed for general support at this brand new Burke fish event! Enjoy the summer weather on Portage Bay during a fun-filled day celebrating all things with gills and fins! Visitors can see dozens of specimens, climb aboard the Research Vessel Clifford A. Barnes, tour the Burke’s ichthyology collection and UW Oceanography’s tide models, see Seagliders, witness the maiden voyage of a full-sized Angyaaq, a traditional open boat from Alaska, and more. Volunteers should have a welcoming and open personality and a willingness to help out. Please note: This event takes place on Saturday, August 20, at the UW Marine Sciences Building, located at 1501 NE Boat St. Volunteers are also needed for event setup on Friday, August 19.


We’ll be sippin’ on the dock of the bay at this outdoor evening party featuring creatures from under the sea! See shark, angler fish, and other specimens, climb aboard the Research Vessel Clifford A. Barnes, and soak up sunset rays on the docks near Portage Bay. Fish & Sips is part of the Burke’s NightLife series which provides the opportunity to chat with experts, see museum collections up close, hang out with friends and enjoy adult beverages from local producers. Volunteers are needed to serve as chowder and snack table monitors and as crowd monitors for the Research Vessel Barnes. The event runs from 6-8:30 PM (early entry for members @ 5:30 PM) and volunteers will work either the first or second half of the event. Volunteers (who are 21+) will receive two drink tickets and free entry to the event! Please note: This event takes place on Saturday, August 20 at the UW Marine Sciences Building, located at 1501 NE Boat St.

Gallery Guide

The Burke provides an extraordinary opportunity for volunteers to engage with their community through public museum events and gallery experiences. Throughout the year, volunteers provide crucial support for events such as Dino Day, Bug Blast, Meet the Mammals and many others! Visitor Engagement volunteers also directly support the needs of various departments by interacting with visitors in the galleries as Gallery Guides. Gallery Guides 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, May through Labor Day weekend.   

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 (2)

Ever wondered how scientists collect specimens and data in the field? The 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). Volunteers will be reimbursed for gas mileage. Find out more about spider collecting trips

Lepidoptera Lab Assistant (1)

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! 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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