An Insider’s Perspective: Volunteering at the Miami Science Museum

Working at a Museum is fun, rewarding, and challenging. And the Miami Science Museum runs on the energy of the people inside – visitors, employees, and our volunteers. One of our dedicated young volunteers, Carol, painted this picture of her experience at the Museum:

“My name is Carol, and I’m in my junior year of high school. I dedicate my free Saturdays to the Museum, and despite the fact that I’m a relatively new recruit – I’ve been doing this for about five months– I’m now a perfectly integrated cog in the machine of hardworking people that keeps this place running. There’s now a familiarity in my work that I appreciate, but every Saturday brings new challenges and pushes me to present the science a little more thoroughly and do my work a little bit better.

The responsibilities of the volunteer and the employee are nearly identical. They are responsible for checking out how things are doing on the floor, helping visitors, and, of course, explaining the science. This could range anywhere from conducting puppet shows, overseeing the Sea Lab, or pitching small demonstrations somewhere on the main museum floor. The principal reason I became a volunteer was for an opportunity to share my enthusiasm for science with the public, and there is certainly no lack of opportunity to do so. I’ve learned whilst doing demonstrations that catching people’s attention is an art. Usually stationed at an inconspicuous table towards the back of the Heart Smart exhibit, I learned quickly that I had to make things interesting. It’s always a challenge – and a challenge I relish. Nothing beats the feeling of seeing a passerby utterly fascinated by how something works, or a small child captivated by a scientific display. 

We’re a close-knit community, here at the Museum. My coworkers are all warm and friendly, and it didn’t take long before I knew all of them by name. While at work there are always things to do, there is an underlying casual and approachable atmosphere that is reflected in the Museum itself. 

I strongly encourage anyone interested in science to join the team. One often overlooks the effort required to maintain it, but the Museum is driven by the truly admirable dynamic of its employees.”

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