Museums Victoria – Volunteering FAQ

What is a volunteer?

A volunteer is someone who freely gives of their time and skills to a not-for-profit organisation in order to help it further its goals. Volunteers are unpaid for their contribution to the organisation but are highly regarded for the assistance they give.

At Museums Victoria, volunteering is considered different from other forms of unpaid contribution such as internships or work placements carried out as part of a tertiary course.

Who can volunteer?

Anyone who is 17 or over and under 100 years of age. If you are 17 years, your parents' permission is required.

Do I need a Working with Children and a Police Check?

Yes, it is a State Government and Museums Victoria requirement. All successful applicants to the program must apply for a Working with Children Check before commencing their volunteer role. Museum Victoria will also undertake a National Police Check after the information session with your permission.

Why is the process to become a volunteer so involved?

Museums Victoria is lucky enough to have many people interested in volunteering; we receive around 1000 enquiries a year. Our processes help us and you to establish whether we are a good fit for one-another. From the 1000 enquiries we accept between 100-150 people per year to become Museum volunteers. Our induction also makes sure that those that do get accepted into the program have been given all the information they need to effectively and safely carry out their volunteer role.

What can't volunteers do at Museums Victoria?

At Museums Victoria the role of volunteers is to augment and enhance the role of paid staff. Volunteers cannot undertake core business. There are no voluntary positions that involve the handling of money (eg. ticketing, retail, IMAX or working in the finance department), or which involve a duty of care for visitor or collection safety.

Can I volunteer any day or time?

It depends upon the voluntary role you take up. Most 'Front of House' roles are available everyday that the museum is open; that is, 7 days a week all year other than Christmas Day and Good Friday, between 10am-5pm. Behind the Scenes or ‘Back of House’ roles are usually only available on weekdays. There are no regular evening voluntary positions, though some special events may occur in the evening.

What kind of time commitment do I need to make as a volunteer?

Once established, most volunteers commit to a weekly or fortnightly rostered position but this is flexible. A shift can be between 2-8 hours long. Our guidelines are:

  • At least 24 hours per year or an average of 2 hours per month
  • No more than 840 hours per year or an average of 70 hours per month.

Am I limited to one volunteer role only?

While we encourage new volunteers to start with one voluntary role, we hope that once established, volunteers will expand or contract their voluntary commitments to suit their interests and lifestyle. Volunteers are welcome to change or add to their role at any time, subject to availability.

Is there ongoing training?

Yes – we have an extensive training and professional development program that volunteers can take advantage of. It is part of the volunteer Agreement with Museums Victoria that further training will be provided on an ongoing basis to support volunteer roles.

What happens if I am sick or want to go on holiday or don’t feel like coming in?

It is expected that volunteers will have other things going on in their life alongside their voluntary commitments. Our program is flexible enough to accommodate those needs, providing that the minimum number of hours is met. We also ask that volunteers keep in touch regarding their ‘fit’ with the Program; volunteers are always free to change their minds.

Can I volunteer for Museums Victoria at home?

No, unfortunately you cannot. This is because of the insurance implications if anything were to happen to you while you were carrying out ‘museum business’ at home.

I have the next two months available - can I use them to volunteer with you?

While we appreciate the offer of help, we are looking for volunteers who feel they can make an ongoing commitment to being part of the museum.

By becoming a Museum volunteer are there opportunities for getting a job there? 

Any voluntary experience is a great boost to any resume, but you should note: Museum volunteers are not eligible to apply for positions that are only advertised to paid staff. However, volunteers are welcome to apply for externally advertised Museums Victoria positions.

Does Museums Victoria provide travel assistance to its volunteers?

No, it does not. We ask you to carefully consider the financial impact that regular attendance at the museum will have on your budget.

How do I keep in touch with what’s happening at the Museum?

It is of great benefit for volunteers to have an email address. Regular newsletters are sent containing Museum news, opportunities and reminders about coming dates and events. It is a vital part of keeping in touch between shifts.