Page last updated July 13, 2021
The museum staff is small. We welcome volunteers, age 18 or older.
The museum has three components with potential volunteer opportunities: the Public Exhibit, the Research Collection, and the Teaching Collection.
Creating or Upgrading a Display
Designing and installing a display usually takes a minimum of about 40 hours. The museum will provide funds for printing signage and a small amount of money for additional props, such as artificial vegetation. You must work with the available taxidermy mounts and within the physical confines of existing display cases. You will be responsible for writing signage and finding appropriate background props, if needed. Writing signage is more of a challenge than it appears. There should be a balance between providing useful and interesting information without being too wordy.
Volunteers that successfully create and install a display will get a sign in the display acknowledging their efforts. Some volunteers have done displays as class projects for credit.
Examples of displays created by volunteers are the Bush Pig, Lead Shot, Mountain Goat, and Fur Touch Table.
The Research Collection, at the opposite end of the hall from the Public Exhibit in Abelson 101, is the core of the museum. There is no way around it: Much of the work in the research collection is tedious, repetitive, and thankless. Care and meticulous attention to detail is necessary. It often involves tasks such as entering large amounts of data into a computer or writing specimen labels in small, neat handwriting. We have a few specific projects in the Research Collection we could use volunteers for.
Specimens for the research collection are prepared as “study skins.” Preparation of study skins requires far less expertise than a taxidermy mount, but most people need to prepare several skins to become reasonably adept at it. Preparation of a study skin requires skinning a bird or mammal, filling the skin with a cotton “body”, sewing the skin back up, collecting tissue samples from the real body for archival, and writing a tag for the skin.
Preparation of a study skin typically requires a block of several hours of time, especially during the learning process. Teaching study skin preparation also takes a substantial amount of the curator’s time, so, if you think you might like to prepare skins, we ask that you commit to preparing at least five specimens.
At the moment, there are no volunteer opportunities for the Teaching Collection