Frequently Asked Questions

Why would I want to volunteer?

People volunteer for all sorts of reasons; here are just a few:

  • It's the next step up from visiting.
  • It's sociable: volunteer with like-minded people and feel part of the community, too.
  • It's a supportive setting in which to build confidence and communication skills.
  • It's a chance to do something different.
  • The 'feel good factor' - it's the support of volunteers that makes many of our events possible.
  • It's fun!
  • It's great experience if you're interested in working with people or in a museum environment.
  • It's good for your CV!


What is the expected time commitment?

The expected time commitment varies. There is no minimum for helping with ad hoc public events. However, for many specific roles, volunteers are expected to help once every 4 - 6 weeks. Most Ashmolean Information Desk volunteers have a regular weekly or fortnightly slot, and Collections volunteers are generally asked to come in for a regular amount of time per week or for a more intensive block of time. For more information, please see the various volunteer role descriptions.


What skills or experience do I need?

You don't need to be an expert in anything!

If you're interested in helping with public-facing roles, you will need to enjoy meeting people, have a sense of fun, and be interested in the museums and collections.

If you're interested in helping with the collections, knowledge or enthusiasm for a particular subject can be an advantage. Good attention to detail is also important.


Can I have a record of my volunteering?

We can provide references to those who have volunteered at at least 3 events.


Do I need a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check?

On the registration form you will see that we ask all volunteers to give permission for a DBS check to be carried out should one be necessary. Some volunteer roles do require a check; this will be clear from the role description.

If you have any questions about this, please do not hesitate to contact the Volunteer Service.


What training opportunities are there?

The Volunteer Service runs assorted training sessions throughout the year. Past topics have included 'Why Family Friendly?', 'An Introduction to Instrument Cleaning and Conservation', and 'Planning Your Own Activity'. The Service also organises training relevant to specific roles.


What if I don't have computer access?

Give us a ring on 01865 282456 or stop by our office, and we will be happy to discuss practicalities. However, please note that all of our regular communication is by email.


How do I contact the Volunteer Service?

Email: volunteering [@]

Telephone: 01865 282456

Address: Joint Museums Volunteer Service
Museum of Natural History
Parks Road



Are there any age restrictions?

You must be at least 16 to volunteer. If you are under 18, you can help at family friendly events and at some other events, but some roles will not be open to you. These include (but are not limited to):

  • Saturday Backpacks
  • Family Welcome Point
  • Sunday Family Friendly
  • Science Saturdays
  • Information Desk
  • Object Handling
  • Tours


Does helping with one thing prevent me from helping with something else?

Only if they're at the same time! We know that volunteers often want to learn new things. Many volunteers take on lots of different roles simultaneously whilst others enjoy doing one role for a while before moving on to something else.

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