San Diego Natural History Museum--Your Nature ConnectionSDNHM Volunteers
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Volunteer Frequently Asked Questions


What is my first step to becoming a volunteer?

Complete the volunteer application and you will be invited to an upcoming orientation.

What is the youngest age for volunteering?

Youth opportunities start at age 16. Youth opportunities are limited to camp aides for the Museum’s spring and summer camps. All other volunteer positions require a minimum age of 18.


Are there specific qualifications to become a volunteer?

An interest and/or background in natural history are helpful in any of our volunteer positions. All volunteers receive in-depth training and ongoing support to ensure their success.

What is the time commitment required to volunteer?

Time commitment varies by position. In most cases, a weekly 4-hour commitment and a minimum of six months is required. Canyoneers and Docents ask for two years.

Does the Museum offer internships?

The Museum does not offer paid internships and unpaid internships are limited. Internships for course credit require a letter of reference from an academic advisor and a formal agreement with the education institution. Teaching Assistant Internships are offered during summer camps for students interested in gaining teaching experience.

Do the science departments need volunteers?

The Museum’s science departments have limited openings for volunteers. They generally prefer volunteers with previous training or experience in the respective science fields. Science departments include: Birds and Mammals, Botany, Entomology, Herpetology, Research Library, and Paleontology.

What are the benefits of volunteering?

As a volunteer, you become a part of a world-class museum that serves over 350,000 people each year. Volunteers receive training from Museum curators and local experts, as well as discounts to the Museum Store and invitations to various events around Balboa Park. This is an excellent opportunity for life-long learning experiences and to enjoy the company of like-minded individuals.

What is the mission of the San Diego Natural History Museum?

To interpret the natural world through research, education and exhibits; to promote understanding of the evolution and diversity of southern California and the peninsula of Baja California; and to inspire in all a respect for nature and the environment.

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