Volunteering at Smithsonian is Seriously Amazing!

By Edison Lafont| April 29, 2014

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The Smithsonian is already known for being seriously amazing, as their website attests (as well as tens of millions of visitors every year), but there’s an actual reason for that sentiment other than the sheer spectacle of what you can see there. The Smithsonian also happens to be one of the best places to volunteer. And it just so happens that they are “always on the lookout for dynamic and curious people who want to be a part of the Smithsonian team.”

Here are three reasons why you should volunteer at the Smithsonian.

1. Under a Microscope

The Microscope Volunteer category digs deep  to share an overall love of learning. It’s all about interaction here. You’ll engage audiences with stories, tours, gallery talks, demonstrations, and creative hands-on experiences.  This includes working in the Natural History Museum, the zoo, and the Air and Space Museum among others. So, if you have a specialization that you want to dive into, this category would be the one for you.

2. Through the Telescope

The Telescope Volunteer category is pretty much the opposite of the Microscope one, which isn’t at all implied by its name. (Sarcasm.)  Telescope Volunteers have a “broad perspective and big picture of all that the Smithsonian has to offer,” says the website. They engage visitors by sharing their great range of knowledge about the Smithsonian as a whole. In other words, the Microscope category is more targeted, while the Telescope is more general. Make sense?

Some examples include working the information desk, the phones, and monitoring the various programs.

Internship-Connects-People3. A Kaleidoscope of Opportunities

Okay, where to start here? In a nutshell, the Kaleidoscope category basically covers all activities supporting the Smithsonian from afar. This includes volunteer work in the community or online. But that’s really simplifying things. This category actually breaks down the volunteer work by dividing them up into sub-categories. Here’s a quick look:

  • Citizen Science Volunteers – Research through field work afar
  • Digital Volunteers –  Expand access to the Smithsonian’s massive collections by researching programs online.
  • Non-Public Volunteers – This is basically support staff, such as working in the office or at any of the special events. Behind the scenes work.
  • Seasonal Volunteers – Pretty self-explanatory. This is short-term seasonal opportunities.

As you can see there is literally something for everyone, which goes hand-in-hand with what the Smithsonian represents to begin with. The above info only scratches the surface, though, so be sure to head on over to their site to get the full details. The benefits of volunteering at Smithsonian go across the board. But don’t take our word for it. Listen to the people who have actually worked there.

“A typical day at the Smithsonian is filled with hundreds/thousands of diverse visitors who are fascinated with what our facility has to offer (artifacts/exhibits). This job has allowed me to gain a diverse range of skills to include understanding cultural barriers, picking up on basic languages from around the world, expanding my communication skills, exhibiting idol professionalism that would represent our organization/nation, and being more patient and culturally sensitive. “

TL;DR: it’s seriously amazing! It might just be worth your while to look into.



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