Volunteer

Volunteering at the Museum

Volunteers are a vital part of accomplishing our mission at the Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum. To register as a volunteer, you will need to submit a completed application waiver and background check. Background checks are an important step in ensuring the safety of our visitors, staff, volunteers, and collections.

Please note:

  • For general volunteer requests, we will only accept applications for the open positions listed below.
  • For internship requests, we will process these on a case-by-case basis based on available internship positions. Because these positions fill up quickly, we recommend submitting your request 2-4 months in advance of the semester during which you would like to intern.

Current Volunteer Opportunities

Questions?

Email: volunteer@bishopmuseum.org

HR/Volunteer Department
1525 Bernice Street
Honolulu, HI 96817

The Human Resources and Volunteer Department has office hours Monday through Friday. We are closed over the weekend and during administrative holidays, including Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Volunteering FAQs

Most frequent questions and answers

This varies from position to position, but typically we ask that volunteers commit to a minimum of six months. Please click on each of the volunteer opportunities for more information about time commitments.

For those who are unable to commit to a set schedule for longer periods of time, becoming a “Special Events Greeter” would be an excellent option. By doing so, you become an “on-call” volunteer for our large special events. Since these larger events are few and far between, the typical amount of time served is between 3 to 25 hours over the course of a year, depending on your own availability. For more information, please email us at volunteer@bishopmuseum.org

Please email us at volunteer@bishopmuseum.org! We are always on the look out for interns for many of our departments, and we review each request on a case-by-case basis. That being said, our intern needs fluctuate greatly as the year goes on– sometimes we can only accept 1 or even none, depending on the circumstances.

When sending in your requests, please be as detailed* as possible. Doing so helps us best match you to an available internship! *(An example of a detailed request would be, “I am interested in working with birds/native birds. I also love photography, so I would love to help with imaging specimens/artifacts if the former is not an option.”)

We have areas both in the front-of-house as well as back-of-house which are available at differing times of the year.

Areas include:

  • Education
    • Greeters
    • Docents
  • Natural Sciences
    • Botany
    • Entomology (insects)
    • Ichthyology (fishes)
    • Invertebrate Zoology
      • Malacology (mollusks such as snails, slugs, and clams)
    • Vertebrate Zoology
  • Cultural Resources
    • Archaeology
    • Ethnology
    • Library and Archives

For many positions, you must be at least 18 years or older. For those who are 17 years or younger, we review and respond to these applications on a case-by-case basis. If you are accepted, you must submit a completed parental consent form before you can begin. Additionally, all volunteers under the age of 14 must be accompanied by a guardian at all times.

To receive a parental consent form, please email us at volunteer@bishopmuseum.org

After we receive an application, we will begin to review and process the application. As part of this process, our Human Resources and Volunteer office runs a background check on all volunteer applicants. This is for the safety of our guests, staff, volunteers and collections. Once your background check has cleared, the Volunteer Coordinator will discuss your volunteer interests and the best fit for you at the museum. You’ll then be scheduled to meet with your prospective volunteer supervisor. Pending their approval, you will be scheduled for General Orientation in HR, where you will receive things such as your volunteer handbook and ID badge.

For our back-of-house volunteer areas, there is a high demand for volunteer positions as well as a low turnover rate. We can only accept a handful of new volunteers at a time due to these spatial constraints. If, however, you are interested in a front-of-house position (e.g. greeter), there are much more spaces available year-round.

We consider volunteering to be an excellent opportunity for professional development! Many of our current employees started as volunteer or interns. However, due to the limited number of job openings, there aren’t always positions available. As a result, volunteering or interning with us does not lead directly to paid work.

As an active, long-term volunteer at the Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum, you will have access to a number of benefits:

  • Free parking in designated areas of our parking lots (with parking stickers)
  • Free admission to the Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum
  • Discount at the Shop Pacifica, the Museum store
  • Discount at our café, run by Highway Inn
  • Membership to Kamehameha Federal Credit Union
  • Four Guest Passes per month (upon completion of first 40 hours of service)
  • Membership to the Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum (upon completion of 75 hours in a 12 month time period)
  • Invitation to our annual volunteer appreciation party

Email us at volunteer@bishopmuseum.org! We would love to hear from you and find a way to get you involved once more! Depending on how long it has been since you were a volunteer, it is possible that we will ask you to fill out another application.

Be a Part of Our Story

Celebrate the extraordinary history, culture, and environment of Hawaiʻi and the Pacific with a gift to Bishop Museum. As a partner in the Museum’s work, you can help to sustain vital collections, research, and knowledge, and inspire exploration and discovery with a tax-deductible donation.