MORRISON NATURAL HISTORY MUSEUM
VOLUNTEER REQUIREMENTS AND POLICIES
Participants in the Museum Docent and Research Associate programs must be at least 18 years old. Museum Ambassadors must be at least 16. Couples are welcome. Families with children under age 16 will be considered.
2. Time Commitment
a. Volunteers must work a minimum of 8 hours per calendar month or 96 hours per year.
b. Volunteers must attend at least one volunteer meeting per year, although two are held at it is recommended that volunteers participate with both meetings. These meetings occur in January and April and are scheduled on the online Event Calendar.
c. Volunteers who do not meet the minimum time requirements or do not attend a minimum of one volunteer meeting in a calendar year will be removed from the program.
d. Volunteers will be placed on a schedule based on their availability and MNHM needs. Contact MNHM staff prior to dropping in to volunteer. Positions are limited, and if all jobs are filled for that day, unscheduled volunteers may be sent home if all .
a. Absence from the museum for more than four consecutive weeks must be discussed with the Director. Dismissal from the volunteer program may result if four consecutive weeks of absences is not cleared with the Director.
b. Two unexcused (no call/no show) absences will result in removal from the volunteer program.
c. Volunteers sign up to fill work assignments in most cases. Once committed to any activity, volunteers are required to locate their own substitutes should they be unable to fulfill the commitment. A volunteer roster (phone #s, skills) is provided to all volunteers to aid in locating substitutes.
3. Work Environment
a. Volunteer tasks require extensive public interaction. Volunteers must be comfortable speaking with small and large groups of all ages.
b. Morrison Natural History Museum volunteers work with people of diverse backgrounds and special needs. Volunteers are expected to interact with everyone in a fair and respectful manner.
c. THE MUSEUM IS OPEN 360 DAYS A YEAR. MNHM is closed New Yearís Day, Easter, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve Day and Christmas Day. The Museum can be closed by the Director for extreme weather conditions (e.g. a blizzard) or other unusual circumstances.
d. Volunteer activities take place in both indoor and outdoor conditions. Outdoor activities can take place in all weather conditions (heat, cold, rain, snow, etc.)
e. Volunteer activities can require lifting, climbing, reaching, carrying, walking and standing for extended periods in all environmental conditions, both indoors and outside.
e. The main role and purpose of Morrison Natural History Museum volunteers is to work with museum guests.
e. Volunteer positions start with "Volunteer-in-training" and could lead up to "Research Associate" level (through Levels II and III) with time and ambition.
f. Volunteer-in-training: (Level I volunteer) new volunteers that have not yet undergone training and mentorship and are not yet in MNHM uniform.
f. Ambassador: (Level II volunteer) volunteers facilitate many aspects of the museumís effort to provide high quality service to all guests (e.g. Main Desk Ambassador, office help, special events, general visitor assistance, grounds keeping assistance), as well as provide support to the Docents by providing some visitors short tours and answering questions about the exhibits.
g. Docent: (Level III volunteer) (volunteer educators) interpret the museumís fossil and live animal collection for visitors and disseminate a vast array of information on life and Earth history, local historic fossil finds, and the nature of historical science through an assortment of programs at MNHM and occasional offsite programs.
h. Research Associate: (Level IV volunteer) promoted MNHM Volunteers who have demonstrated mastery of their skills and demonstrate the ambition to assist in the Paleontology Laboratory or Collections.
4. Training and Continuing Education
The Director and Museum Assistant offer extensive training and mentorship while continuing education programs to prepare volunteers to perform tasks with skill and confidence.
a. Museum Orientation: All volunteers must satisfactorily complete this 8 hour orientation class. This class explores the museumís mission, history and future, general information about the fossil and live animal collection, types of docent-led tours of the museum, customer service, public relations, museum operations information, volunteer involvement in museum programs, and uniform details. Caveats of the museum building, workplace safety and some job-specific training are also explored.
Classes meet from 8:00 am Ė 5:00 pm and are usually held on the third Thursday of each month and are required prior to volunteering. There is $25 training fee for materials.
b. All volunteers who complete Museum Orientation training are Ambassador volunteers, eligible to sign up for any Ambassador activities for which they are trained.
c. After completing Museum Orientation, participants may complete additional job specific training programs and may elect more advanced training opportunities. Completion times range from a few hours of on-the-job training to weekly classes. Ambassador volunteers are also eligible to proceed to Guide training upon successful completion of Museum Orientation.
d. All Docent volunteers must attend a two day training class. Docent training includes basic interpretation skills and how to use the museumís exhibits for interpretation. Guide training classes also include mentored practice. Classes meet from 8:00 am Ė 5:00 pm every eight weeks. There is $25 training fee for materials. Guides are eligible to participate in both Guide and Ambassador activities.
e. Research Associate training is offered annually. Only volunteers who have trained and worked as Guides are eligible to attend.
f. Continuing Education: Periodic continuing education programs are offered to volunteers. Participation is determined by the volunteerís particular interests and/or MNHM needs. Occasionally, attendance will be required.
g. Volunteers are expected to remain current on all museum and volunteer program policies.
Guides and Docents must maintain accurate information on fossils and live animals in the museumís collection.
h. Newly trained volunteers serve on probationary status for a period of one year. After completion of the first year, a decision will be made to either discontinue probationary status or remove the volunteer from the program.
5. Uniform and Public Demeanor
a. Uniform: Volunteers are required to purchase the official museum uniform shirt. Volunteers are required to wear an approved shirt with khaki slacks, shorts (walking length) or skirt, and name badge. Some jobs require an alternate uniform (e.g. field work).
b. Volunteers are granted permission to acquire the MNHM uniform after successfully completing the Museum Ambassador training. See the Director or Museum Assistant for ordering details.
c. Volunteers are public service ambassadors for the Morrison Natural History Museum. Volunteers are expected to be friendly, courteous, and represent the museum in a positive, professional and supportive manner at all times.
d. Smoking, use of illegal drugs, or consumption of alcohol is NOT permitted while on MNHM grounds and in uniform.
e. Children and other family members or friends are not allowed to accompany volunteers while performing volunteer duties, attending classes or meetings unless they are also members of the volunteer organization.
f. Science Policy: The Morrison Natural History Museum operates within a scientific worldview. For example, the museum accepts that species evolve and concepts of geologic time (e.g. the age of the Earth). The museum recognizes that many people have alternative positions. We do not force modern science upon our visitors, but volunteers must be comfortable representing the museumís official position.
6. Nature of Work Relationship
a. Volunteers are not considered an employee for any purpose. No health, accident, or workerís compensation benefits are provided.
b. Selection of individuals for the Morrison Natural History Museumís volunteer program is not influenced or affected by race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, or any other characteristic protected by law.
c. Volunteering should not be considered as a step toward museum employment.
d. Volunteers who elect to participate in programs which require working with live animals assume all risks, including the possibility of injury when handling animals.
e. Volunteers who perform duties within the scope of assigned responsibilities are protected from certain types of civil liability by Federal and State of Colorado statutes. Volunteers are not protected from liability for acts performed outside the scope of responsibilities, criminal acts, or civil rights violations.
f. Volunteers are required to abide by the MNHM Volunteer Requirements and Policies, Opening and Closing Procedures, and to sign the Volunteer Agreement (sample of Agreement attached) and the Computer Usage Policy.
g. All volunteers are subject to informal evaluation and their work also may be evaluated formally.
7. Financial Commitment
a. Volunteers are required to be members of the Morrison Natural History Museum.
b. Training and Recognition: There is a $25 fee to cover the cost of materials needed for Museum Orientation classes, Docent training, topic-based Continuing Education classes,name tags, and awards.
c. Uniforms: Volunteers are responsible for the cost of volunteer uniforms.
8. Limited Availability of Positions
Applications to the Morrison Natural History Museum Volunteer Program exceed the number of available positions in each training class. All applicants are required to complete a criminal background check form as part of the interview process. The selection of new volunteers is based on a negative background check and matching applicants with current MNHM needs.
This narrative is based upon the volunteer program requirements of the Denver Zoo and modified for MNHM use. MNHM Staff would like to thank the Denver Zoo Education staff for collaborating with this endeavor.