Join over 500 volunteers who team up with Museum employees to bring science to life every day!
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the required time commitment?
Adult volunteers commit to a minimum of one year in which they donate the minimum of 40 hours required to be an active volunteer, but we encourage volunteers to aim for 100 hours or more. (In 2013, over 140 volunteers donated at least 100 hours.) Some special programs may have fewer or greater required hours of commitment.
Is there a schedule requirement for volunteering?
This is a flexible volunteer program regarding most roles; many of our volunteers spend 3 – 5 hours volunteering per shift. The Museum is open daily from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. except Thanksgiving and Christmas Day. (Extended hours apply in the summer and during some holidays.) Some teams have a schedule to rotate volunteers, and some programs require specific days and times. We can chat about each teams’ requirements during your Volunteer Interview or Group Audition.
Does this position pay? I am looking for a job at the Museum.
Volunteers support the Museum by donating their time and talent. Volunteering is an unpaid position, and does not ensure you a job at the Museum. If you are interested in a paid position, please visit our Job Opportunities page.
How do I prepare for a Guest-Facing Audition?
Guest-Facing Auditions are used to gauge your experience and interest in facilitating information to Museum guests. You can expect to participate in fun improvisational exercises, group interview questions, and informal mock facilitations. (No headshots are necessary!)
How old do I have to be to volunteer?
Adult Volunteers must be 18 years of age or older to be eligible for the program. High School students (age 14 – 17) should visit the Science Minors section of our website for more information about teen volunteer opportunities.
Can I volunteer if I am a college student and only home for the summer/winter?
Due to the time we put into volunteer orientation, training and placement, we ask our volunteers to commit a minimum of 40 hours per calendar year. Please consider whether you can commit this time to our volunteer program, and are able to attend a scheduled orientation meeting.
Is there a volunteer uniform?
All volunteers are required to wear a Museum-issued name tag and ID badge at all times. Administrative Volunteers dress in office-appropriate attire, consistent with general professional standards.
All Guest Facing volunteers and employees have a crisp, consistent look: The Museum provides an MSI Lab Coat, name tag and ID badge. Volunteers will also be given a bright, branded MSI t-shirt free of charge. Volunteers are responsible for wearing dark blue jeans free of holes and dark, closed-toe casual shoes. This basic uniform is required for all facilitators while engaging guests at MSI, and may vary slightly depending on team.
Will I be standing for a long period of time?
A majority of the guest-facing volunteer positions do require long periods of standing and walking.
Is parking free?
Free parking in our convenient underground parking garage is one of the many perks offered to volunteers.
All volunteers must successfully complete an audition or interview, attend Museum Orientation, authorize a criminal background check, and attend team-specific training before volunteering in the Museum.
Ready to Volunteer?
5700 S. Lake Shore Drive
Chicago, IL 60637
- (773) 753-1382
- (773) 753-1357
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about the museum
Opened in 1933, the oldest science Museum of its kind in the Western Hemisphere attracts approximately 2 million visitors per year.