Since 1887, the Museum has depended on volunteer help for many of its projects and much of its development. Today, more than 200 volunteers participate regularly, making important contributions to the Museum. Some volunteers come in daily, and many have served for 20 or more years!
If you are interested in volunteering at the Penn Museum, please review the volunteer opportunities listed below and then submit an application. For most volunteer positions the only requirement is an interest in archaeology, anthropology, and world cultures, a love of learning, and a willingness to make a regular time commitment, usually two to four hours, one or two days per week.
Volunteers may request VIP parking passes. They receive a 10% discount on purchases made in the Museum's shops and cafe. Volunteers are also encouraged to join the Museum as members, and new volunteers receive a 10% discount on individual or family memberships.
Description: Cartifacts is an informal, in-gallery public program that provides hands-on experiences for Penn Museum visitors of all ages. Cartifact Volunteers set up displays of five to ten touchable artifacts at carts located in the Museum’s galleries and explain the function and history of each object. Each cart is focused on a gallery theme. Cartifact Volunteers engage visitors in short-term discussions utilizing open-ended questions.
Required Training: Volunteers will be interviewed and introduced to all available carts. Volunteers will study the training manual of the cart of his/her choice for up to two weeks. After two weeks, Cartifact Volunteers will be tested on their familiarity with the objects and their ability to facilitate discussions with visitors about the material.
Qualifications: This volunteer opportunity is open to mature high school students and adults. An ideal Cartifact Volunteer demonstrates good listening and conversational skills, has enthusiasm for the material, and has knowledge of the Penn Museum’s collections and floor plan.
Requirements: Commitment for at least one day a week is preferred, but not a requirement. Cartifact Volunteers may schedule themselves to work for any hours during the following times: Tuesday-Friday, 12pm-4pm; Saturday-Sunday, 10am-4pm; or special evening events.
Description: The Museum sponsors a wide variety of special events for members and the public on weekends and in the evening. Special Events Volunteers help with many aspects of special events including set-up, check-in, helping at kids’ craft tables, and more.
Required Training: None
Description: The Oceanian collections of the University of the Penn Museum include over 22,000 objects from all the major island groups of the Pacific (Polynesia, Melanesia, and Micronesia), insular Southeast Asia, and Australia. The collections are mostly ethnographic, representing the material culture of the Pacific peoples from the mid-19th century to the present. At the moment the Public’s only access to these objects is through the Museum’s website, on which a comparatively small proportion of the objects is represented by high quality images. The Section is looking for a volunteer to work on adding Oceanian Section object images to the Museum database and on improving the quality of images already there.
Required training: Training in using the Museum’s collections management database (KE EMu) and in object handling will be provided.
Qualifications: Applicants should have at least some experience in using Adobe Photoshop and in using a digital SLR camera.
Requirements: Commitment of at least four hours a week is desirable. If possible, work should be scheduled within the hours of 10-5 on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, or Thursdays.