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

WEST WINDS FACILITATOR

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. This volunteer-visitor connection supports our mission and deepens and expands the one-of-a-kind museum experience we offer our community.

Time Commitment:

West Winds Facilitation takes place primarily on the weekends in three-hour shifts:

Saturdays, 11 a.m. -2 p.m. and 1 p.m.-4 p.m.

Sundays, 11 a.m. -2 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:

  • Comply with all policies and procedures of The Bakken Museum in pursuit of its mission.
  • Ensure a safe and respectful environment in the museum.
  • Welcome museum visitors and offer individualized support, guidance, conversation, demonstrations.
  • Collaborate and cooperate with museum staff and other volunteers.
  • Promote Bakken programs and 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 range of visitors.
  • Background or interest in science, technology, engineering, arts, math, humanities.
  • Ability to pass criminal history background screening.

TOUR VOLUNTEERS

TEMPORARILY UNAVAILABLE

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

TEMPORARILY UNAVAILABLE

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

TEMPORARILY UNAVAILABLE

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

August Schwerdfeger


How long have you been volunteering at The Bakken?
21 years. I started in 1999 when I was a student in what was then the Earl Bakken Science Program, just to have an excuse to hang around the workshop. In 2007, I was talked into becoming a mentor for Inventors' Club, which I had serious doubts about, not knowing any more about electrical engineering or the use of tools than what I had picked up at the Bakken myself, but it has worked out all right so far.


What is your favorite Bakken exhibit, artifact, anecdote, event, etc.?
Back in the Good Old Days, when the Bakken still gifted curious children with cords that had a wall plug on one end and conductive nails on the other, one of the educators inserted the nails into either end of a dill pickle and the plug into a wall socket. The pickle started to glow and flicker with otherworldly goober-colored lightning. That was a demonstration of the magic of electricity that even a Tesla coil cannot match.


What is your favorite memory of volunteering here so far?
I have done everything from cleaning up tables to helping design exhibits, to writing instructional materials, to helping one Inventors' Club student (later a mentor himself) with an extended project to design his own computer processor; but my favorite memory would have to be when, after all this, I ran into a former student out in the world and she introduced me as being "really good at soldering and stuff."


If you could choose one STEM topic to be an expert in, what would it be?
I am already an expert in one, computer science, which I would round out with expertise in mechanical engineering, so I could build gizmos (and would not have to palm Inventors' Club students off on one of the other mentors whenever they have an idea for a mechanical gadget).


What other activities and interests do you spend your time on outside of the museum?
Programming and photography. (My typical position in photos is on the other side of the lens, safely out of sight.)


Are there any other volunteer opportunities in the Cities that you recommend?
The ones that do not openly advertise themselves, that do not come with a slogan-embossed T-shirt or a logbook for clocking hours. As has been demonstrated recently, simply lending assistance and/or skills as needed in your own neighborhood or community will make a much more noticeable impact than pulling hours in some battalion of volunteers wearing matching T-shirts.

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


Submission Form

Please indicate which opportunity you are interested in the message section on the form below.

Volunteer Request

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