Thank you for considering volunteering at The Bakken Museum

We’re renovating! Construction on the lower level of The Bakken Museum will introduce new exhibits, an improved visitor experience, and enhanced programming.

During renovations, the West Winds mansion will be open to the public on Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

We will being seeking new tour guides in the fall of 2020. Subscribe to receive email updates.

Learn more about The Bakken Museum’s renovation project.

As a volunteer, you will have the unique chance to:

  • Contribute to our knowledge and assist in the preservation of The Bakken Museum's extraordinary collections.
  • Contribute to The Bakken’s temporary and permanent exhibits.
  • Explore intriguing ideas and learn techniques for communicating and educating the public.
  • Feel a sense of fulfillment for providing a needed service for present-day and future generations of children, families and adults interested in learning.

Opportunities

SUMMER OPPORTUNITIES

GARDEN ASSISTANT

OPPORTUNITIES AVAILABLE

Gardening and grounds care at The Bakken Museum’s campus includes a wide range of outdoor projects in a unique, multifaceted landscape. Sitting on nearly 3 acres, the property comprises a wetland restoration area, a cottage-style medicinal plant garden, an organic vegetable garden, and countless other highlights and surprising elements for lovers of nature.

TIME COMMITMENT, RESPONSIBILITIES, AND QUALIFICATIONS:

Garden volunteers meet regularly on Thursday evenings, 4-7 p.m. If this timeframe does not work in your schedule or if you wish for more opportunities, we can coordinate with you to schedule different hours.

Volunteers are always invited and never obligated to participate! Bring a friend, bring your kiddo! The more, the merrier.

Groups of up to 50 volunteers can schedule a time to help out, April-October, by reaching out to Community Engagement Coordinator, Will Elsas at elsas@thebakken.org.

Experienced gardeners, beginners, and everyone in between are welcome to join, as long as you have a passion for nature and an interest in digging in the dirt!

TEMPORARILY UNAVAILABLE

Summer Camp Mentors assist Bakken staff and counselors during the five-session Camp Innovation, helping to guide campers through the invention process, problem solving with them in the workshop, and ensuring a safe, creative, and welcoming atmosphere for all. This is the perfect role for former campers or for high schoolers interested in sharing their love of science with youth!

TIME COMMITMENT:

  • Mentors are required to attend all five sessions of a given week of camp.
  • Sessions can be either half-days (9:00 a.m.-12 p.m.) or full-day (9 a.m.-4 p.m.).
  • Mentors can sign up to assist with one week of camp or multiple weeks.
  • Mandatory training sessions take place in early June, and camp weeks begin in mid-late June and last into the first week of September.

RESPONSIBILITIES:

  • Cultivate an environment of safety, inclusion, and creativity
  • Attend all five weekday sessions of each designated camp week, in addition to training sessions 
  • Collaborate with a team of Bakken staff and counselors to best support and build skills and interests of campers
  • Promote innovation process – the value of wonder, the growth from failure, the passion for discovery, and the strength of collaboration

QUALIFICATIONS:

  • Ability to work as a team member and to accept responsibility. 
  • Ability to act independently and to seek consultation when needed. 
  • Desire to work with students (either ages 9-11 and/or ages 12–15). 
  • Ability to resist taking over students’ projects, allowing them to work through the invention process. 
  • Experience and comfort with small power tools and workshop tools. 
  • Background or interest in art, engineering, teaching, and/or science and invention.

SCHOOL YEAR OPPORTUNITIES

TEMPORARILY UNAVAILABLE

Invention Program mentors encourage, inspire, and support young learners as they explore, experiment, and create their own inventions to take home. Mentors assist and supervise students with tools and materials, help to brainstorm, and problem solve parts of their projects. 

TIME COMMITMENT:  

Sessions of Inventor’s Club and LEGO Robotics Club occur in the Fall, Winter, and Spring. Mentors are invited to assist with either morning sessions only, afternoon sessions only, or both sessions and are strongly encouraged to maintain attendance throughout an entire session. 

Inventors Club - 7 Saturdays (1 training day, 6 class days) 

  • 11 a.m.-1 p.m. (to mentor third to fifth graders) 
  • 2 p.m.-4:30 p.m. (to mentor sixth graders and up)

LEGO Robotics – 5 Saturdays (1 training day, 4 class days) 

  • 11 a.m.-1 p.m. (to mentor third-fifth graders) 
  • 2:30 p.m.-4:30 p.m. (to mentor fourth-sixth graders) 

RESPONSIBILITIES: 

  • Ensure a safe and respectful environment in the workshop
  • Attend Saturday sessions, plus one Saturday of training prior to the beginning of the program sessions
  • Work with a team of Bakken staff and mentors to expand and develop the interests and skills of young student inventors
  • Be available and accessible to all students during the session to help them find answers to their questions

QUALIFICATIONS:

  • Ability to work as a team member and to accept responsibility
  • Ability to act independently and to seek consultation when needed
  • Desire to work with students (either ages 9-11 and/or ages 12–15)
  • Ability to resist taking over students’ projects, allowing them to work through the invention process
  • Experience and comfort with small power tools and workshop tools
  • Background or interest in art, engineering, teaching, and/or science and invention

YEAR ROUND OPPORTUNITIES

TEMPORARILY UNAVAILABLE

West Winds Facilitators serve as a representative expert on the West Winds mansion, Static Party Room experiments, and Science Studios activities, guiding and enhancing the museum visitor experience for children and adults alike. Facilitators welcome visitors, offer guidance, answer questions, and invite exploration of the space and materials, all in the spirit of awakening the innovator in everyone.

TIME COMMITMENT:

  • West Winds Facilitation takes place primarily on the weekends in three-hour shifts:
  • Saturdays, 10 a.m. -1 p.m. and 1 p.m.- 4 p.m.
  • Sundays, 10 a.m. - 1 p.m. and 1 p.m.- 4 p.m.
  • We encourage volunteers to commit to a weekly or bi-weekly shift. Adjustments to timeframe and frequency can be made for volunteers who have specific scheduling requests.

RESPONSIBILITIES:

  • Ensure a safe, respectful, and inspirational environment in the museum
  • Welcome museum visitors and offer individualized support, guidance, conversation, demonstrations and lend an ear for the many stories visitors may tell
  • Collaborate and cooperate with museum staff and other volunteers
  • Promote Bakken programs and upcoming events

QUALIFICATIONS:

  • Ability to work as a team member and ambassador for all things Bakken
  • Ability to communicate clearly and enthusiastically with a diverse audience
  • Proficiency in adjusting communication and input style to serve a range of visitors
  • Background or interest in science, technology, engineering, arts, math, humanities

TEMPORARILY UNAVAILABLE

Tour guides lead groups of youth, adults, and seniors through the galleries of The Bakken Museum, facilitating the exploration of its exhibits and hands-on activities, divulging the history of the West Winds mansion, and inspiring engagement and curiosity among tour participants.

TIME COMMITMENT:

Field Trip Tour Guide

  • 4-hour shifts (includes 2 tours + break), taking place weekdays 9:30 a.m.-2 p.m.
  • 8 hours/month (2 shifts) is requested
  • 4 hours/week (1 shift) is preferred

Tour Guide (for youth, adult, & senior groups)

  • School-year weekdays – 2 p.m. - 5 p.m.
  • Summer weekdays – 10:45 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.
  • Saturdays, year-round – 10:45 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.
  • 4 hours/month (1 shift) is preferred

RESPONSIBILITIES:

  • Attend trainings and observations in order to master tour content and practice delivery style
  • Deliver tours with accuracy and enthusiasm to groups of museum visitors, often youth
  • Manage tour participants safely and inclusively, abiding by tour schedule
  • Encourage hands-on participation and exploration of galleries and exhibit content
  • Comply with all policies and procedures of The Bakken Museum

QUALIFICATIONS:

  • Passion about the wonders of science and innovation and/or professional background in education or in a STEM field
  • Ability to communicate clearly and consistently
  • Skill at or interest in developing skills at youth mentorship and group management
  • Capacity to learn new ideas and develop new strategies to teach them

OCCASTIONAL OPPORTUNITIES

TEMPORARILY UNAVAILABLE

Exhibit developers work closely with museum curators, project managers, and Bakken educators in order to research, test, and produce exhibits and hands-on activities at The Bakken Museum.

Time Commitment: 8 hours per week

RESPONSIBILITIES:

  • Assist with content research, draft exhibit text, and procure objects and other exhibit resources.
  • Conduct image research, acquisition, and licensing.
  • Participate as a team member to investigate potential topics for exhibits and communicate research findings to team.
  • Assist with testing exhibit ideas and prototyping with the public.
  • Maintain high standards of accuracy and comprehensiveness in all research and management tasks.
  • Comply with all policies and procedures of The Bakken Museum.

QUALIFICATIONS:

  • Familiarity with or interest in communicating ideas to the public.
  • Knowledge of or strong interest in history, science, engineering, and/or medicine.
  • Experience using MS Office.
  • Ability to conduct in-depth research using library and internet resources.
  • Ability to clearly communicate findings in written form.
  • Ability to act independently and to seek consultation when needed.
  • Ability to work as a team member.

TEMPORARILY UNAVAILABLE

With close guidance of museum curators, collections assistants advance the care, management, and research of the museum’s vast collection of historical artifacts and literature. Volunteers working with the collection gain insights about accession and preservation of historical items and may accompany curators during collections events to help share this information with the public.

TIME COMMITMENT:

  • 4 hours per week, scheduled with curator
  • Work as a collections volunteer is project-oriented and therefore, may not always be available. 

RESPONSIBILITIES: 

  • Communicate research findings to the curator and other team members. 
  • Assist with presentation of collections at public events. 
  • Maintain high standards of accuracy and comprehensiveness in all research and management tasks. 
  • Comply with all policies and procedures of The Bakken Museum in pursuit of its mission. 

QUALIFICATIONS: 

  • Familiarity with or interest in electrical apparatuses and electronic medical devices. 
  • Knowledge of or interest in history and historical research methods. 
  • Knowledge of library and archival practices is preferred for special projects. 
  • Ability to act independently and to seek consultation when needed. 
  • Ability to work as a team member. 
  • Ability to clearly communicate findings in written form.

VOLUNTEER HIGHLIGHT

Get to know… Christine Jansen!


How long have you been volunteering at The Bakken?
I started volunteering at The Bakken in the Spring of 2019. I signed up after seeing an opportunity in the Star Tribune, in the Volunteering column they run each weekend. I love gardening, so thought it a perfect fit for the request for gardeners.


What is your favorite Bakken exhibit, artifact, anecdote, event, etc.?
Besides the garden? That would be the Frankenstein exhibit. I remember bringing my children to The Bakken when they were little, and that exhibit was very exciting for everyone!


What is your favorite memory of volunteering here so far?
Pulling weeds and having lovely discussions with the other volunteers while doing so. Every volunteer here has such interesting lives and stories. It’s a great way to connect with others that I would not have had the opportunity to do so otherwise.


If you could choose one STEM topic to be an expert in, what would it be?
Within the realm of Science, I’d love to be a researcher with plants (botany) or microorganisms (zoology or biology, depending upon the microorganism). I started out in that line when I began college, but then became fascinated with child development and the research in that field, which is what my undergrad degree is in.


What other activities and interests do you spend your time on outside of the museum?
I love paddleboarding and kayaking when I have a whole morning free, biking and walking, hiking, fishing, and camping when I’m outside of the cities. Inside activities include reading, puzzles, streaming movies and series, and by far my favorite activity is cooking and baking.


What is your #1 favorite thing (anything!) in the Twin Cities?
The State Fair! I am so sad it’s not happening this year, but I wouldn’t go anyway in a pandemic. There is always next year!


Are there any other volunteer opportunities in the Cities that you recommend?
I am a huge advocate for volunteering, which I started when I was 12 years old. My recommendation is to find something that you are passionate about and looking around. The Twin Cities is a very vibrant city with the arts and social action nonprofits. I have never been turned down for volunteer activities, so I focus on what I love to do (gardening!).

The Bakken Museum is Minneapolis' best-kept-secret for STEM education of all ages. I enjoy everyday as a volunteer at The Bakken because of the fun and excitement guests have learning about science, technology, and wellness. With exhibits that are both beautiful and interactive, it's easy to pass on my knowledge and passion as a biomedical research professional!" — Travis Navarro

"I have been with the Bakken from 8 years old to 18 years old. Even when I was getting older, the Bakken was still fun and exciting for me to visit and volunteer!” — Isabel Johnson

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