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How to Volunteer at a Museum


With more than 17,500 museums in the U.S., it should be easy to find one where you'd like to volunteer.
With more than 17,500 museums in the U.S., it should be easy to find one where you'd like to volunteer.
Manchan /Digital Vision/Getty Images

The word "museum" comes from the Greek word "mouseion," a place dedicated to the study and appreciation of the muses. Every day, millions of people worship those muses by visiting museums to admire ancient artifacts, commune with the likes of Monet and relish the simple beauty of a Japanese garden.

According to the American Association of Museums (AAM), among Americans, zoos are the most popular venue, followed by science and technology museums, arboretums and botanic gardens, children's museums, natural history and art museums [source: AAM].

In society, museums play the role of collecting and caring for objects of scientific, artistic or historical importance and making them available to the public.

Museums are generally nonprofits funded by government grants and private donations. Typically, they rely heavily on volunteers, who do everything from handing out tickets to leading tours and cataloging inventory.

Volunteering for a museum is typically an easy process. Most museum volunteer positions require filling out an application and in some cases, providing a resume and references as well as undergoing an interview and training program. But the hardest part may be deciding where to donate your time.

That decision depends on your interests, talents and availability, not to mention which museums are in your area. A good place to start is the AAM's Web site, which has a listing of museums by geographic areas as well as topics [source: AAM].

Read on to find out how to narrow your search.


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