Volunteer Policies


    Updated 8/2/2016


    1. Minimum Age Requirement

    a. Participants must be at least 16 years old. 

    2. Minimum Time Commitment

    a. Volunteers must work a minimum of 8 hours per calendar month or 96 hours per year.

    b. Volunteers must attend basic volunteer training within the first three months of volunteering.

    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.

    3. Absences

    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 communicated with the Director or Museum Coordinator.

    b. Two unexcused (no call/no show) absences will result in removal from the volunteer program.

    c. Volunteers self-schedule. Once committed to a duty or activity, volunteers are required to communicate their absence with the Museum Coordinator via email or phone.

    4. 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 Year’s 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.

    f. The main role and purpose of Morrison Natural History Museum volunteers is to work with museum guests.

    5. Training and Continuing Education

    Museum staff offer extensive training and mentorship while continuing education programs to prepare volunteers to perform tasks with skill and confidence.

    a. Periodic continuing education programs are offered to volunteers. Participation is determined by the volunteer’s particular interests and/or MNHM needs. Occasionally, attendance will be required.

    b. Volunteers are expected to remain current on all museum and volunteer program policies.

    c. Volunteers must relay accurate information on fossils and live animals in the museum’s collection.

    6. 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 basic training. See the Museum Coodinator 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 museum’s official position.

    7. Nature of Work Relationship

    a. Volunteers are not considered an employee for any purpose. No health, accident, or worker’s compensation benefits are provided.

    b. Selection of individuals for the Morrison Natural History Museum’s volunteer program is not influenced or affected by race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, 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, under penalty of removal from the program.

    g. All volunteers are subject to informal evaluation and their work also may be evaluated formally.

    8. Financial Commitment

    a. Uniforms: Volunteers are responsible for the cost of volunteer uniforms.

    9. 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 in 2009. MNHM Staff would like to thank the Denver Zoo Education staff for collaborating with this endeavor.