Thank you for your interest in volunteering at the Yale Peabody Museum. Our volunteers are vital to the success of the Peabody’s many programs. They are part of the fabric of the extraordinary experience that is the Museum.
Because of Yale University’s COVID-19 protocols and restrictions, our Volunteer Program is currently suspended. When the program is reinstated we will post an announcement on this website and on our social media platforms. As always, we will welcome you with open arms!
About the Yale Peabody Museum Volunteer Program
Our volunteers provide support in all areas of the Museum in both public programs and behind the scenes. Some volunteers engage visitors through the Museum’s educational programs, special events, and community outreach. Others contribute their time by supporting collections research and our extensive libraries. Simply put, we couldn’t do all we do without our volunteers!
Become A Volunteer
Peabody volunteers are a diverse group of individuals who come from every walk of life: college students, people with full- or part-time jobs, partners, spouse teams, and retirees, to name a few. If you have skills, background, or interests to share, the Museum welcomes you to apply to our program!
Volunteers help out in all areas of the Museum, both in public programs and behind the scenes supporting collections and research. Most volunteers become involved in multiple areas.
Specialized knowledge can be helpful, but is not required. Training is provided.
The Museum offers training for docents and tour guides through our docent training program. This program also prepares volunteers to work as an explainer in our hands-on Discovery Room and for our Peabody on the Road traveling outreach service.
Volunteer opportunities are available throughout the week, including evenings, and on weekends. Once you have been accepted as a volunteer, you let us know when you are available and we will find the best fit for your schedule.
Minimum requirements for becoming a Peabody Museum volunteer include:
- must be an adult age 18 or over;
- must submit a completed application and be available for an in-person interview;
- must successfully pass a background check administered through Yale;
- must be willing and able to volunteer a minimum of 50 hours in an 8- to 12-month period.
Acceptance into the volunteer program is contingent on a successful application and interview.
Please understand that the Museum always has more applications than available positions.
Become A Peabody Docent
The Yale Peabody Museum Docent Program offers unique opportunities to communicate science and history to school groups, families, and other diverse audiences. Volunteers receive in-depth training and work closely with Museum staff to learn, practice, and implement programs in a variety of possible content areas.
Application deadlines will be announced. Selected applicants will be invited to group interviews. Orientation and training are required. Docents must attend all training workshops. Assignments are made after completion of training.
School program docents facilitate 1 or more of 3 themed 45-minute weekday morning education workshops
- Rocks and Minerals
- Animal Adaptations
Through dynamic, hands-on interactions, classes of up to 20 children in grades K–8 learn about natural history and our world. Docents should be enthusiastic, comfortable in front of groups, and interested in working with young children.
Tour guide docents give weekend afternoon tours at the Museum to provide visitors in-depth explorations of our exhibitions. These tours focus on 3 Museum themes:
- Dinosaurs and Fossils
- Habitats and Adaptations
Tours may also be developed for the Peabody’s temporary exhibitions.
Discovery Room docents have a regular weekday shift. They explain the cultural materials, live animal exhibits, and natural history displays in our dedicated hands-on education room to Museum visitors of all ages.
Docents will shadow staff members to become comfortable with their presentations and program content. You may shadow as often as you like and request certification when you feel ready.
Docents are certified at the end of the shadowing period. Your supervisor will observe your presentation and complete an assessment of your performance.
Peabody docents are asked to make a commitment of a minimum of 8 to 12 months and 50 volunteer hours. Longer commitments are encouraged. We also ask that each volunteer sign up for at least 1 large special event or outreach event in each academic year.
Once accepted into program all docents will have opportunities to sharpen communication skills, gain knowledge, and learn how to share complex information in dynamic ways. Docents are invited to special volunteer enrichment workshops and behind-the-scenes tours. You are welcome to request reference letters from supervisors and may be eligible to receive university internship credit. Graduate and undergraduate students in biology, earth science, and the social sciences are encouraged to apply.
Ready to apply?
For more information contact: