Volunteer Opportunities at ASDM

Thank you for your interest in volunteering with the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum!

Are you looking for a great opportunity to join a vibrant, local community of life-long learners, while simultaneously meeting and sharing information with Guests from around the world? For more information, select 'Docent' in the list below.

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Volunteer Opportunities are available in the following areas:

Volunteer Description:
The Interpretive Animal Collection (IAC) is dedicated to the husbandry and training of a diverse collection of birds, mammals, reptiles, and invertebrates presented through various interpretational demonstrations both on and off Museum grounds. The IAC volunteer assists the staff with projects related to the daily care of the IAC animals, including but not limited to: cleaning animal enclosures, logging observations, animal handling & feeding (including non-venomous snakes), and implementing enrichment. Percent of time spent on various aspects of daily animal husbandry and care:

  • 70% Cleaning of exhibits and enclosures (scrubbing, hosing, raking, sweeping)
  • 10% Daily observations (visuals on animals and their surroundings)
  • 10% Daily diet feeding/animal handling
  • 10% Implementing animal enrichment
The IAC has volunteers every day of the week including weekends and holidays. This is an in-depth program requiring a 4.5 hour per week commitment between 7:30am and 12:00pm. The shift has a constant day and we require an 85% attendance rate. We require at least an 8-month commitment to volunteer in IAC as it takes up to 4 months to become fully trained. With our 85% time commitment, we do ask that time off be requested as far ahead as possible to potentially find coverage.
Benefits:
This is an opportunity to learn about the husbandry involved in a hands-on environment with captive wild animals of the Sonoran desert in an AZA accredited institution. Great for resume building and career building experience. Active status volunteers receive numerous benefits including complimentary membership and discounts for the duration of their service.
Requirements:
Applicants must be at least 18 years of age. Volunteers in this role must be comfortable walking, standing, bending, kneeling, and balancing while performing a variety of volunteer duties, working outdoors throughout the year, and the ability to lift and carry up to 25lbs for short distances. Applicants must possess good general communication skills, the ability to perform volunteer duties independently as well as in group settings, and interact well with people of all ages and backgrounds. For the safety of the animals, Volunteers in this role must be able to think and react quickly in demanding situations while adhering to Animal Experiences department protocols. Applicants should have a clear understanding of the boundaries related to animal interactions. All Desert Museum Volunteers must be able to learn and retain the Desert Museum’s safety procedures and protocols, as well as position specific responsibilities and competencies. -Applications will be accepted through early July & interviews will be scheduled in late July and August. -Following the initial interviews, selected applicants will be invited back for a “working interview”. -Volunteers selected for this program will be required to complete a four-week probationary period.
Current Openings:
Tuesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays – 7:30am-12:00pm
Volunteer Description:
Docents are trained volunteers who engage Museum guests through the sharing of natural history and conservation stories to foster a better understanding and appreciation of the Sonoran Desert region. Docents empower people to live in better harmony with the natural world. Docents are adults of all ages, walks of life, and educational backgrounds. Docent responsibilities include:

  1. Providing excellent customer service to all guests, volunteers and employees.
  2. Facilitating rich and rewarding guest experiences by being friendly, approachable and helpful.
  3. Teaching guests, in an informal setting, about the Sonoran Desert and its peoples, plants, animals, geology and climate, and the interrelationships among them.
  4. Teaching about the role of zoos in conservation, and the Museum’s conservation work.
  5. Sparking engaging conversations that inspire guests to conservation action by conveying empathy and enthusiasm.
  6. Facilitating hands-on educational activities and games for guests of all ages.
  7. Sharing conservation messages and suggested actions.
  8. Engaging the public during on-site programs and events such as specialty tours, weddings, corporate events and Cool Summer Nights.
  9. Presenting live animals to museum guests (Docents must successfully complete at least one year in the program before they are eligible to work with live animals)
Benefits:
This is a great opportunity to join a vibrant, local community of life-long learners while simultaneously meeting Guests from around the world. Docents receive in-depth training in natural history and interpretation methods and are also provided access to continuing education opportunities. Active Museum Volunteers enjoy benefits which include free memberships, discounts in the gift shops and restaurants, and Service Merit Awards.
Requirements:
Volunteers in this position must be able to get to and from the Museum, as the Museum is unable to provide transportation, and there is no public transportation available. This position is best suited to those who are comfortable with public speaking, or have a desire to develop their public speaking skills, and for those who are interested in learning, and sharing what they learn, about nature and conservation with Museum guests. Successful applicants are friendly, adaptable, comfortable interacting with diverse groups of people, comfortable interacting with children, excited to introduce people to the wonders of the natural world, and able to learn and remember the Desert Museum’s safety procedures and protocols. Applicants should be aware that the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum contains approximately two miles of outdoor trails with uneven terrain and wild animals. Docents must be able to move around the Museum and they may also be exposed to heat, cold, wind, rain, and sun for long periods of time. Docents may also encounter free-roaming venomous animals during their shifts. Applicants must be able to attend the first cycle of trainings happening on each Saturday in October (October 5, 12, 19 and 26) and at least one additional cycle of trainings in 2025. More information about Docent Training, including the specific dates and times of all classes, can be found on the Docent Website: https://www.desertmuseum.org/center/edu/docents.php
Current Openings:
Multiple shifts are available for every day of the week.
Volunteer Description:
Volunteers in this position are stationed around the front patio and they support Guest Services staff by approaching museum Guests and welcoming them in a friendly manner. Volunteers in this position are also the Museum’s first impression for Guests and they are essential when it comes to creating a welcoming and informative museum experience.

  1. Approaching Guests (of all group sizes) and welcoming them to the Museum
  2. Directing Guests to the appropriate entry lines to keep things moving
  3. Suggesting that Guests become museum members
  4. Distributing maps and providing information on daily programing/upcoming events
  5. Assisting GS staff by retrieving wheelchairs
  6. Assisting GS staff by retrieving electric scooters and demonstrating their use to Guests
  7. Helping to answer or solve a variety of visitor questions or concerns
  8. Monitoring the exit gates and thanking Guests as they depart
  9. Collecting Lost & Found items and giving them to GS staff
Benefits:
This is a great opportunity to meet Guests from around the world, while sharing your passion for the Sonoran Desert region. Active Museum Volunteers enjoy benefits which include free memberships, discounts in the gift shops and restaurants, and Service Merit Awards.
Requirements:
Physical requirements: Applicants must be able to maneuver around the front patio areas and be comfortable working in winter cold and summer heat. Able to learn and retain the Desert Museum’s safety procedures and protocols, as well as position specific responsibilities and competencies.

Skills/knowledge required: Applicants must demonstrate excellent customer service skills and be comfortable interacting with a diverse population of Guests (i.e.: age, race, gender, etc.).

Other Requirements: Volunteers in this position must be available to attend a one hour training session for each year they volunteer.

Current Openings:
Various days and shifts available
Volunteer Description:
Exhibit Greeters welcome guests to an immersive play-based exhibit. Greeters will orient visitors, provide instructions, answer questions, and provide customer service. Greeters will assist with safety protocols and occasional interpretation. The position is indoors in an air-conditioned environment. Primary Specific Tasks: 1) Welcome groups of visitors to the Playhouse 2) Follow safety protocols and help direct positive behavior 3) Provide customer service 4) Encourage visitors to learn how they can live in harmony with the desert 5) Opportunities to interpret southwest ecology, primarily as it pertains to packrats
Benefits:
Packrat Playhouse Greeters gain experience working with children of all age groups, grow their confidence and public speaking abilities, and gain experience working in an immersive learning exhibit. Active status volunteers receive numerous benefits including complimentary membership and discounts for the duration of their service.
Requirements:
Applicants should have a passion for working with people. Comfortable with customer service, creating welcoming environments, and working with families and children in a non-traditional educational setting. Able to learn and retain the Desert Museum’s safety procedures and protocols, as well as position specific responsibilities and competencies. Applicants should have a positive and upbeat attitude.
Current Openings:
Various days and shifts available
Volunteer Description:
Volunteers in this role provide care and enrichment for our fresh and saltwater aquatic animals. The General Aquatics Volunteer assists with animal husbandry, diet prep, enrichment, and special projects.

  • Animal Husbandry: Assisting with the day-to-day husbandry and maintenance of our fresh and saltwater fishes.
  • Diet Prep: Assisting with the preparation of meals for our animals. This includes frozen/thawed shellfish and seafood, as well as invertebrates, pellets/flakes etc.
  • Enrichment: Providing enrichment for aquatic animals.
  • Special Projects: Open for discussion based on the interests of individuals. May include:
  • Getting into tanks for scrubbing
  • Developing new enrichment ideas
  • Logging and documenting data
This role requires a 4-hour per week commitment between 8:00am-12:00pm. This is a four-month position, beginning the second week of August and ending the last week of December.
Benefits:
This is an opportunity to learn about the husbandry involved with a wide variety of fresh and saltwater aquatic animals in an AZA accredited institution. Great for resume building and career building experience. Active status volunteers receive numerous benefits including complimentary membership and discounts for the duration of their service.
Requirements:
Applicants must be at least 18 years of age. Applicants must be comfortable around invertebrates, and fish. Volunteers must have the ability to bend, kneel and balance while performing a variety of Volunteer duties. Volunteers must also be comfortable lifting and carrying up to 50lbs. for short distances. Applicants should be comfortable helping outdoors throughout the year and have the ability to follow directions. For the safety of the animals, applicants must be able to think and react quickly in demanding situations while adhering to HIIZ department protocols. Applicants should have a clear understanding of the boundaries related to animal interactions. All Desert Museum Volunteers must be able to learn and retain the Desert Museum’s safety procedures and protocols, as well as position specific responsibilities and competencies.
Current Openings:
Saturdays or Sundays (8:00am - 12:00pm)
Volunteer Description:
Volunteers in this position are assigned but not limited to support of the Stingray Touch Exhibit. Volunteers are support for the animal Keeper staff. Additionally, volunteers in this role will engage and guide guests with instructions, guidelines, interpretation and animal contact. This includes the guest feeding experience and other husbandry-related tasks and activities.

Primary Specific Tasks:

  • Assist HIIZ Keeper staff
  • Assist with basic stingray husbandry (i.e., logging observations, etc.)
  • Interact with Museum visitors
  • Help facilitate guest entry and guest services while at the stingray exhibit
  • Assure the safety of both the stingrays and guests at all times
  • Stingray pool-related tasks
  • Assist with enrichment activities
  • Other tasks may be assigned
Benefits:
This is a unique opportunity to volunteer with stingrays at an AZA accredited, world-class institution. Volunteers receive the opportunity to expand upon their public speaking skills while gaining hands-on experience. Great for resume building and career building experience. Active status volunteers receive numerous benefits including complimentary membership and discounts for the duration of their service.
Requirements:
Applicants must be at least 18 years of age, must have the ability to bend, kneel and balance while doing a variety of tasks; they must also be comfortable lifting up to 25 lbs. Applicants should be comfortable helping outdoors throughout the year and have the ability to work cooperatively with others in a complex and busy social environment. Having a positive attitude is very important, and must be willing to follow directions. Preference will be shown to applicants who can demonstrate good general communication skills. For the safety of the animals, applicants must be able to think quickly in demanding situations while adhering to HIIZ department protocol. Applicants should have a clear understanding of the boundaries related to animal interactions. All Desert Museum Volunteers must be able to learn and retain the Desert Museum’s safety procedures and protocols, as well as position specific responsibilities and competencies. Year-round availability welcome but not necessary.
Current Openings:
multiple days and shifts available
Volunteer Description:
Volunteers in this position are stationed indoors in the beautiful Ironwood Gallery. Volunteers in this role act as a friendly and knowledgeable representatives of the Museum while monitoring the gallery exhibition space. Duties include (but are not limited to): reinforcing gallery rules, assisting with clerical tasks, organizing materials, answering phone calls, assisting with the sale of artwork and maintaining a clean exhibit space.
Benefits:
This is a great opportunity for anyone who enjoys being around creative, like-minded people. Art Institute volunteers have the chance to interact with museum guests from around the world; they also receive first-hand access to new gallery exhibits, featured artists and special Art Institute programing. If you're looking for a position that offers the flexibility to work on your own projects (in between gallery visitors), this is the environment for you! Active Museum Volunteers enjoy benefits which include free memberships, discounts in the gift shops and restaurants, and Service Merit Awards.
Requirements:
Applicants must be able to make a 3-6 month commitment, volunteering 3 hours, once a week. Able to learn and retain the Desert Museum’s safety procedures and protocols, as well as position specific responsibilities and competencies. Applicants should be comfortable and be open to selling (or learning how to sell) artwork. A background check will be performed for any volunteer working with sales.
Current Openings:
Sat, Sun, or Mon - 10:00am-1:00pm
Volunteer Description:
Volunteers in this position help and support Security staff by walking around the Museum's grounds and providing guest services to those they encounter. Duties include (but are not limited to): helping guests find their way, explaining the grounds maps, assisting Security staff with security-related tasks, and assisting with daily animal programming.
Benefits:
This is a great outdoor opportunity that allows volunteers to enjoy the Museum while sharing their enthusiasm with guests from around the world. Active Museum Volunteers enjoy benefits which include free memberships, discounts in the gift shops and restaurants, and Service Merit Awards.
Requirements:
Applicants must be able to make a 6 month commitment, volunteering for 4 hours once a week. Applicants should be able to stand for periods of at least 45 minutes, be comfortable working outdoors, have good communication skills and be able to provide excellent customer service. Able to learn and retain the Desert Museum’s safety procedures and protocols, as well as position specific responsibilities and competencies. Volunteers in this position are required to purchase an official volunteer t-shirt ($13).
Current Openings:
multiple days and shifts available

If a position aligns with your interests and availability, please fill out the following form:

Volunteer Application Form

If you're having trouble accessing the online application, please print this application form (PDF) and mail it to Volunteer & Internship Programs Coordinator (Mike Walker) at: 2021 N. Kinney Road, Tucson, AZ 85743.

If you have any questions or need additional information, please don't hesitate to call the Volunteer & Internship Programs Coordinator (Mike Walker) at: 520-883-3082 or at mwalker@desertmuseum.org.

Volgistics Link for current volunteers
Docent Schedule for current Docents
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