Volunteer at the Virginia Living MuseumWatch Videos of Appreciation from VLM Staff
Volunteers at the Virginia Living Museum enhance the experience of our guests, are an integral part of the staff, and enrich the lives of our animals. Volunteers keep the museum thriving, functioning and continuously growing. They give their time and talents to ensure the success of this non-profit organization and support our mission to protect what’s precious.
Volunteers at the Virginia Living Museum work with staff members to promote conservation by teaching the beauty and uniqueness of Virginia’s many habitats. They can be found helping in the public parts of the museum or behind the scenes working to maintain the high level of quality care we provide for our animals. No matter what the service, volunteers are an asset to the Virginia Living Museum. In fact, volunteers outnumber paid staff four to one.
There are a wide variety of positions available to volunteers allowing people to find a location at the museum in which they would truly enjoy volunteering. Whether you enjoy working with the public, prefer engaging with plant and animal life, or are seeking to acquire skills in communication or husbandry, the Virginia Living Museum has it all! We are seeking enthusiastic and dependable people, regardless of background and experience. If this sounds like you, please consider volunteering at the Virginia Living Museum and become a part of our organization.
Join Our Volunteer Family
To join the Virginia Living Museum as a volunteer you need to:
- Be at least 15 years old (ages 11-14 are eligible for Family Volunteering) Parental permission required for volunteers younger than 18 years of age.
- Have an interest in natural history, physical science and/or science in general.
- Be enthusiastic, friendly and dependable.
- Submit a completed application to Volunteer Services.
- All applications are reviewed. Selected applicants will meet with Volunteer Services staff to match skills and interests. Position offers are made based on successful interviews and reference checks.
- Orientation and specific trainings are required of all volunteers.
- Must be able to commit to one regularly scheduled shift (usually four hours) per week for a minimum of 4 months. Alternate schedules can be arranged if available.
- Be able to attend required training.
- Have reliable transportation to and from the Museum.
Note: Volunteer placement at the Virginia Living Museum is subject to a successful interview, reference check, an official position offer and space availability.
All VLM Volunteers are required wear an official VLM uniform. Options include:
- $15 for a new T-shirt
- $5 for a gently used T-shirt
- Borrowed VLM smock
For your convenience an online volunteer scheduling portal is an additional option for a one time $5 fee.
As part of the screening process, adult applicants must complete an online background check with Sterling Volunteers. Cost to applicant: $12.50. A link will be provided after successful reference checks.
We are open 7 days a week, with a variety of shifts that range from 2 – 4 hours. Shifts for volunteers in Animal Welfare & Conservation Departments are 9-1 or 1-5 each day. Special exhibits or rental events may have evening hours available.
Monday-Saturday: 9-11am, 11am-1pm, 1-3pm, 3-5pm (and Thursdays in the summer 5-8pm)
Sunday: 9am-noon, noon-2:30pm, 2:30-5pm
Volunteers/interns in Curatorial areas 9am-1pm, 1-5pm every day.
Special summer exhibits may have additional evening hours.
Benefits of Volunteering
- Free admission to Museum for volunteer. Some limited reciprocal admission to local attractions after 50 hours of service.
- 10% discount on Museum store purchases.
- 20% discount in the Wild Side Café.
- 10% discount on membership purchase.
- Free monthly seminars by natural and space science experts.
- A chance to meet and work with outstanding people who share a common interest.
- Letters of reference for school or job applications.
- Use of the Museum’s research library.
- Course credits through internships.
- An opportunity to enhance your employer’s standing in the community.
- Exploration in new fields of interest and renewal of former skills.
- Recognition awards and Museum publications.
- Satisfaction of helping others – the opportunity to MAKE A DIFFERENCE!
All new volunteers must submit an application and meet with Volunteer Services before signing up for training. New volunteers are required to attend an Orientation session. Orientation is a tour of the museum and review of the policies and procedures for volunteering and guest interactions.
In addition, specific training is provided for all positions to ensure that volunteers are prepared to perform their duties effectively and with confidence. Training sessions provide specific information about the four galleries in the Museum (Coastal Plain, Piedmont/Mountain, World of Darkness, and Virginia Underground) and outdoor areas (Trail, Living Green, Children’s Garden).