The 2010 museum volunteer of the year was 81-year-old Thelma "Tede" Johnson of Newport News, Va. Johnson received the reward from the American Association of Museum Volunteers for her 12,000 hours of volunteer work for the Virginia Living Museum since 1988 [source: AAMV].
Museums across America rely on volunteer help to keep these nonprofit institutions running smoothly and under budget. Both large and small museums are eager to hire older volunteers with a friendly smile and a passion for the arts, sciences and history. The American Museum of Natural History in New York City employs over 1,000 volunteers; 50 percent of them work directly with the public as information desk assistants, tour guides, teachers of school groups and more [source: AMNH]. Other volunteers work behind the scenes cataloging exhibits, conducting research and helping with administrative tasks. The museum notes that the minimum age for volunteers is 16, but "there is no upper limit."