Current Volunteer Needs

Please review our current needs listed below before submitting an application. To apply for any of these positions, please complete the volunteer application. The Volunteer Department will contact you to schedule an interview. If you have specific questions, please call Janet Morris at 619.255.0245 or You must be at least 18 years old to volunteer for the science departments and openings are limited.

Apply to Volunteer

Interested in employment at the Museum? View our current job openings .

Explore the wild side of San Diego as a Canyoneer.

Join a crew of hardy hikers and explore the coasts, foothills, mountains, desert, and local canyons. As a Canyoneer trail guide, you lead public groups and share your knowledge of the outdoors; knowledge you will gain in the comprehensive Canyoneer training. You trod the wild side of San Diego County, areas that most residents never see. Hikes range from 1.5–8 miles on various terrain. The hikes are either weekends or during the week for the public or hikes for local schools during the weekdays. The hiking season begins in September and ends in June. The hikes are free, no reservations required, and open to the public.

Training is consecutive Saturdays from September 7–mid-November; 8 AM-3 PM. Training materials are $25. Once training is completed, Canyoneers are asked to lead six hikes per year for two years. This is a great way to meet others with a similar passion. Minimum age is 18. A background check is required to participate. Apply today. Deadline is Wednesday, August 7, 2019.

Wanted: students or recent graduates in archaeology or anthropology.

The Zooarchaeology Department is looking for students or recent graduates to assist in the zooarchaeology lab. Volunteers identify faunal remains from archaeological sites, assist with preparation of specimens, help add to the collection, staff the demonstration lab interacting with museum visitors, and do other tasks as needed. Staff prefers volunteers with knowledge of archaeology or anthropology and coursework in biology. Zooarchaeology asks for a minimum commitment of 2 weekly shifts of 3 hours (a total of 6 hours weekly) for 6 months. The volunteer hours are Tuesdays and Thursdays 1–4 PM. Please apply.

Make an impact! Become a Docent.

Join our vibrant Docent team and engage young and old alike in the wonders of the rich biodiversity of our region. Docents are trained teaching guides who deliver programs at local schools and in the Museum. The Docents work as teams so it's an opportunity to make new friends. This is a great opportunity for keeping your mind active in retirement. Training is 20 classes over the course of six months starting September 11. Classes are held on Wednesdays from 9 AM-2 PM. Training covers all areas of natural history and is taught by museum curators and other local experts. It’s like a college level class! Docents are asked to volunteer 3 hours per week for a two year period. Docents help create programs with the guidance of the museum so there is plenty of opportunity to learn. A background check is required to participate. Apply today. Deadline is Monday, September 9, 2019.

Put the NAT in NATuralist.

Join our newest volunteer group—the NATuralists. Engage our guests with fun, interactive games that connect people to nature in a unique way. You don’t have to be an expert in natural history, you just need to be outgoing, able to easily approach strangers, and curious about nature. Volunteers 16 and up can volunteer alone. Volunteer with your child ages 9–15. We find that youth volunteering with their parents is a great way to connect with other people. We ask for a minimum 2 1/2 hour shift three times a month for 6 months. The next mandatory training is Saturday, May 18; 9–11:30 AM. Apply today.

Become a whale naturalist on whale watching cruises.

Join a crew of enthusiastic whale groupies and share your passion for the ocean and its magnificent inhabitants. Training begins October 1. Museum Whalers are trained naturalists who share the wonders of the ocean wilderness with people from around the world. The Tuesday evening classes (October 1–December 3; 6–8:30 PM) include learning about gray whales, rorquals, dolphins, sea lions, seals, birds, and presentation techniques. Scientists from NOAA as well as other local experts are invited as guest speakers. Upon completion of the training Museum Whalers are asked for a commitment of 10 cruises mid-December through April. Cruises are 9:30 and 1:30 daily on Hornblower Cruises and Events leaving from North Harbor Drive. Minimum age is 18 and class size is limited. A background check is required to participate. Apply today.Deadline is July 8.