Share your Passion by Becoming a Volunteer

Thank you for considering volunteering at The Bakken Museum. The museum inspires discovery and creativity in thousands of people each year. This could not be done without the support of numerous volunteers who generously provide their time and resources.

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

TOUR VOLUNTEERS

The Bakken Museum inspires a passion for innovation by exploring the potential for science, technology and the humanities to make the world a better place. The museum is Minnesota’s only Smithsonian-Affiliate and features a world-renowned collection of books and artifacts, multiple galleries focusing on the wonders of invention, plant medicine, bio-technology, and science, and The Florence Bakken Medicinal Garden.

Tour volunteers lead youth, adult, and senior groups through exhibits, gardens, and grounds to share the mission and vision of The Bakken Museum.

Work with The Bakken Museum staff to deliver consistent programs in a safe, engaging, and accepting environment.

Time Commitment:

Volunteer Field Trip Tour Guide (for Grades K-12)
  • Tuesdays-Fridays 9:15 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.
  • 4 hour shifts
  • Minimum of 8 hours/month is requested
  • Minimum of 4 hours/week is preferred

  • Volunteer 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 – 10:45 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.
  • Minimum of 4 hours/month is preferred

GARDEN VOLUNTEERS

The Bakken Museum sits on nearly 3 beautiful acres of property on the west side of Bde Maka Ska. Our unique urban property includes some major surprises for garden enthusiasts, including prairie and wetland restoration areas, a medicinal plant garden, organic vegetable gardens and much more.


There is much to be done year-round to maintain and enhance our gardens and grounds. We have an informal group of volunteer gardeners who meet regularly on Thursday evenings (4:30 - 6:30 p.m.) to do whatever needs doing. Saturday mornings (9:30 a.m. - 12 p.m.) are also an excellent time to come help out. Additionally, we not only welcome individuals, but also groups of up to 50 volunteers to accomplish projects year-round.


Our Director of Facilities and Operations, Chris Lundeen, will be your guide to the gardens. Your schedule will be flexible, and your work will be truly appreciated by the thousands who visit us each year. Please fill out the form below for more information.

EXHIBIT VOLUNTEERS

Work as an exhibits volunteer is project oriented and may not always be available.


Time Commitment: 8 hours per week

Position Summary: Assists in development and production of new exhibits at The Bakken Museum.

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.

Additional Skills:
Occasionally projects arise requiring specialized skills in graphic design, multimedia production, evaluation, and building prototypes or other exhibit components. These skills are desired but not required to volunteer with exhibits.

Training: Training will be provided by Curator of Exhibits and Collections.


Supervision: Adrian Fischer, Curator of Exhibits and Collections, 612-926-3878, ext. 201


Scheduling: Flexible, Monday-Friday

COLLECTIONS VOLUNTEERS

Work as a collections volunteer is project oriented and may, therefore, not always be available.


Time Commitment: 4 hours per week


Position Summary: Assists in the care and management of the collections, including research related to The Bakken’s historical collections of artifacts and books.


Responsibilities:

  • Assist with the management, organization, and conservation of artifact, library, and/or art collections and related materials.
  • Conduct historical research related to Bakken artifacts and books.
  • 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.

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.

Training: Training will be provided by the Curator of Exhibits and Collections.


Supervision: Adrian Fischer, Curator of Exhibits and Collections, 612-926-3878, ext. 201


Scheduling: Flexible, Tuesdays through Thursdays.


Benefits

  • Contribute to our knowledge and assist in the preservation of The Bakken’s extraordinary collections.
  • Assist in developing The Bakken’s collections, presenting them to the public, and educating future researchers.
  • Sense of fulfillment for providing a needed service for present-day and future generations of children, families and adults interested in learning.

VOLUNTEER HIGHLIGHT

RICHARD JOHNSON

How long have you been volunteering at The Bakken Museum? This summer I will have volunteered for 19 years. I have loved every minute of it.

What memory do you have of your first ever visit to the museum? 19 years ago I responded to a Bakken ad in our neighborhood newspaper looking for volunteers. I showed up on a Tuesday afternoon as a paying visitor to check it out. I wasn't impressed. Aside from the person at the front desk, I was the only person in the place and the only exhibit that impressed me was Sparky, the electric eel (the story of Sparky is a sad one, you should ask me about it sometime). On my way out, I picked up some brochures which showed the programs offered by the Bakken. They inspired me to apply as a volunteer and I haven't looked back since.

What is your favorite Bakken exhibit, artifact, anecdote, event, etc.? It won't surprise anyone to know that it's the static party room. It's magical in a scientific sort of way.

What is your favorite memory of volunteering here so far? We used to have an EKG machine next to the lobby and I enjoyed hooking up visitors and having them create different wave patterns by moving their bodies in different ways. One day I encountered a 6-year-old girl and her grandfather. Grandfather was explaining the EKG to his granddaughter and identified himself to me as a cardiologist. I then hooked up the girl and had her create "fuzzy electricity", "chicken electricity", "crazy electricity", and "toe tapping electricity". I then heard grandfather say, quietly, "I didn't know you could do that". Nothing warms the heart of an educator more than hearing "I didn't know that".

If you could choose one STEM topic to be an expert in, what would it be? Animal behavior. I spent 11 years as a docent at the Minnesota Zoo and I learned that every creature, no matter how insignificant, has a fascinating story to tell. Every extinction erases that story.

What other activities and interests do you spend your time on outside of the museum? Being president of our homeowners' association keeps me quite busy. It's like being the mayor of a small contentious town. Although we're slowing down a bit, my wife and I are world travelers. We just returned from 2 weeks in Sweden.

What is your #1 favorite thing (anything!) in the Twin Cities? The lakes and trails. On weekdays. Weekends are crazy.

Are there any other volunteer opportunities in the Cities that you recommend? If you like people and nature, the Minnesota Zoo might be the place for you. You receive considerable training in zoology and botany along with a ton of continuing education. Then you share your knowledge with up to 3,000 school kids a day. It's a blast.

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

Volunteer Testimonials

"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


Submission Form

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