Volunteers are vital to our mission of creating positive relationships between people and nature. They work throughout the Museum to ensure that our critters are fed, our visitors are happy, and our collections are in good working order.
We’re always looking for volunteers to join our team! If you are interested in volunteering, please fill out an inquiry form and our volunteer manager will contact you.
Animal Care volunteers work in the Istock Family Look-in Lab to care for our living creatures. They feed the animals, monitor their health and keep the habitats clean. The Museum’s living collections include snakes, turtles, salamanders, frogs and toads, rats, and many invertebrate species.
Bird Care volunteers care for the birds in the Judy Istock Butterfly Haven. They prepare food, feed the birds, monitor their health and keep the habitat clean. Once they finish their tasks in the Haven, then come join the team in the Look-In Lab to care for the invertebrates, amphibians and other animals there.
Butterfly Lab volunteers ensure that the chrysalides make it into the Judy Istock Butterfly Haven as adults. They are the face of our museum, welcoming visitors and helping them engage with our exhibits and the creatures that live in them. They keep the lab area clean, pin chrysalides to the display case, and record butterfly emergence.
Horticulture volunteers work on Nature Trails, the Museum’s first outdoor exhibition. They rid the grounds of invasive species and maintain the natural landscape. This is a seasonal volunteer position, generally active between April and October. Horticulture volunteers embrace Chicago’s unpredictable weather with hardiness and stamina.
Public Interpretive Programs (PIP)
PIP volunteers deliver daily public programs. They are the face of our museum, welcoming visitors and helping them engage with our exhibits and the creatures that live in them. They educate children and adults using curriculum kits, live animals, and their sunny dispositions.
RiverWorks Exhibit Maintenance
Our RiverWorks exhibit is a fun, splashy play area for children. But what the kids don’t know is that every day before the Museum opens, we have to tinker with the exhibit to keep it running properly. We’re looking for handy volunteers who don’t mind getting wet early in the morning. Physical strength, agility, and patience are required.
Special Events volunteers are always on call to help us execute our monthly, annual, and one-times events. From face painting and kids games to food service and registration duties, special events volunteers make it possible for us to host things like Nature on Tap, Bugapalooza, Supper with the Snakes, and Tea with the Turtles.
Visitor Studies volunteers help determine how visitors interact with exhibits by completing observational studies and exit interviews. Their work results in quantifiable evidence of which exhibit elements resonate with visitors and which could use some work.
Museum Collections and Archives
The Chicago Academy of Sciences’ collections and archives are extremely diverse and vitally important to the mission of the Museum. They represent the disciplines of ornithology, mammalogy, herpetology, entomology, malacology, botany, geology, paleontology, oology, photography, art and history. Volunteers assist collections staff to preserve and organize the scientific collections and archives of the museum.