The museum under construction. The Williams James Topley Collection, National Archives of Canada PA-042281.

History and Buildings

Stone, Fire and Glass

The museum's rich history is grounded in its 100-year-old heritage building and modern research and collections facility.

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Volunteering

Melba Angell.

Volunteer Memorial

Funded by a Donation

The Melba Angell Memorial Fund was endowed by a museum researcher to recognize volunteer contributions made by Melba and volunteers like her. About Melba.

Volunteers are vital to museum operations.

What We Look for in a Volunteer

Security Clearance

Volunteers must undergo a security clearance, including digital fingerprinting.

Come In for Your Screening
Screenings for security clearance are done twice a week:

  • At the museum (directions)
  • Mondays and Wednesdays (except statutory holidays)
  • 8 am – 12 pm.

Like staff, volunteers at the Canadian Museum of Nature are subject to Canada's Policy on Government Security.

Qualifications

Although some of our volunteers have a specialized knowledge of natural history, a willingness to learn is more important. Our volunteers are continuously studying!

Positions involving our collections generally require a higher degree of knowledge. Prospective volunteers may wish to include a resumé along with their application form.

Outlook, Skills and Attributes

Most volunteers help the museum engage the public through specific programs and special events. Outgoing and friendly volunteers tend to thrive in these positions.

A passion for natural history is a definite asset.

Our volunteers usually work in teams, so strong communication skills are helpful.

Reliability is also an essential component—commitment to the schedule is important for all of us.

Language Skills

The museum operates in English and French.

The museum is always looking for bilingual volunteers. The ability to speak more than one language is often helpful in working with museum visitors.

Some volunteer positions absolutely require the ability to understand and speak both English and French. Such requirements are noted in the details of each volunteering opportunity.

Commitment

As a volunteer, you will be asked to commit a set number of hours over a specific time period, depending on the position.

Some positions require the volunteer to adhere to a set schedule; other positions are more flexible.

On average, you should be willing to commit to half a day per week for a least three to four months.

For high-school students, the involvement is usually concentrated during school holidays.

We require all volunteers to attend training sessions, which are fun, informative and collegial.

Volunteer Opportunities

Note that the Canadian Museum of Nature has two locations:

Volunteering with school groups

  • School programs (Ottawa)

Volunteering with museum visitors

  • Family programs (Ottawa)
  • Visit planning (Ottawa)
  • Science-in-Action programs (Ottawa)
  • Seasonal programs (Ottawa)
  • Adult programs and special events (Ottawa)

Volunteering with collections

  • Research and collections (Gatineau)
  • Library and archives (Gatineau)
  • Digital-image database (Gatineau)

Volunteering in promotion

  • Advancement (Ottawa and/or Gatineau)
  • Marketing and Media Relations (Ottawa and/or Gatineau)

Students looking for volunteer hours

  • Family programs (Ottawa)
  • Visit planning (Ottawa)

Benefits of Volunteering

Training

The museum offers ongoing training in the form of lectures, workshops and written materials.

Networking

Meet other like-minded, active and knowledgeable people—both staff and fellow volunteers. Volunteers often connect with people working in other natural-history or museum fields.

Community-Building

Being a volunteer is also a way to engage and inform the museum. The museum relies on volunteers to help guide our programs.

Experience

Volunteering is a way to gain valuable skills that future employers will look for—customer service, accountability, responsibility, time management.

Invitations to Special Events

These vary from year to year, but include volunteer-appreciation events, exhibition previews and special presentations.

Free Admission

Access to our special exhibitions and permanent galleries.

Discounts

Volunteers receive discounts at Nature Boutique and Nature Café, and for selected special events, movies and activities.

Contact Us

Katja Rodriguez
Coordinator, Volunteer Program
Tel.: 613.566.4261
TTY: 613.566.4700
volunteer-benevole@nature.ca

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