Volunteer Policy

For Board, Staff and Volunteers

The intent of this policy is to provide guidelines for the operation of the museum's volunteer program. The policy establishes standards governing the program: the selection of volunteers, the kind of work assigned to volunteers, the quality of work expected and the responsibilities and rights of volunteers, as well as the responsibilities of the museum administration and staff involved in the volunteer program.


Goals of the
Volunteer Program

  • To enrich and expand the services of the museum through the use of trained volunteers
  • To provide the opportunity for public participation in the museum
  • To create an environment where qualified volunteers can acquire new skills and further education through selection, training, and placement by the museum

The Volunteer: Definition and Role

A volunteer is an individual who freely chooses to work for the museum without financial remuneration.  A volunteer is reflective of their community and is vital to the museum for their diverse points of view.  The museum relies on volunteers to complete many important duties.  The museum seeks to involve volunteers with a wide range of skills, knowledge, and life experiences and offer a range of opportunities according to their needs and interests.  The work is as varied as the museum itself and can include such functions as presenting education programs, exhibit design, research, clerical work, grounds maintenance, and fundraising.  It is anticipated that the volunteer will report to the manager unless on a specific project where they may be required to report directly to the board.

Every effort will be made to maximize the different strengths and interests of the museum’s volunteers.  The museum will work hard to match people to a task and makes every effort to clearly describe the job to be done, the skills required, the time commitment, etc. so that prospective volunteers are well informed before making a commitment.  The museum will attempt to assign volunteers to particular roles within the museum, although these may change over time depending on skills, interests, and needs.

Volunteer Selection
and Dismissal

The museum hopes to attract volunteers with diverse cultural and educational backgrounds that are both reflective of its community and will offer some training specific to museums.  Potential volunteers must complete the Volunteer Application form and an informal interview.  Applicants will not be screened on the basis of nationality, race, creed, age, sex, or physical disability.  Applicants under the age of sixteen will be required to obtain written consent from a parent or guardian.

Should a volunteer be unable to perform their assigned duties, every effort will be made to find tasks better suited to their interests, abilities, and/or schedule.  If, for any reason, a volunteer is unable to fulfill their commitment, the museum reserves the right to release them from their commitment.  Dismissal may occur if the volunteer acts in contravention of the museum’s Code of Ethics or against the museum’s better interests.

of the Museum

  • Provide an interview for prospective volunteers which will include a general orientation of the museum, its staff and volunteers, and a description of duties
  • Treat volunteers with dignity and respect
  • Provide volunteers with a copy of the museum’s Code of Ethics
  • Place volunteers in a position suitable to their skills, abilities, and interests
  • Ensure volunteers receive appropriate and ongoing training, supervision, and assistance from a named supervisor
  • Ensure that all Occupational Health & Safety standards are followed
  • Ensure that Policies and Procedures are followed and that copies of these and all future Polices will be made available to all volunteers
  • Provide liability insurance for the volunteer
  • Ensure that written references are provided from volunteers if requested

of Volunteers

  • Obtain a criminal record check
  • Maintain a professional business atmosphere in the work place
  • Respect time lines associated with their duties, ensuring that any and all funding obligations are met
  • Notify the museum well in advance if they are unable to meet scheduled work commitments
  • Maintain confidentiality in areas of particular sensitivity such as fundraising and collections
  • Not receive financial remuneration for regular volunteer services rendered on behalf of the museum
  • Follow health and safety procedures for their work areas
  • Provide a timetable of their availability to the museum so as to assist with scheduling

The Staff/Volunteer Relationship

Museum staff will provide a safe and supportive working environment for volunteers.  Staff working with, or supervising, volunteers will receive them as colleagues and provide appropriate training and encouragement.  Staff will make the best possible use of the skills, interests, and prior experiences of the volunteers and strive to provide challenging and meaningful opportunities for the further acquisition of relevant skills and experiences.

Volunteers will respect the staff hierarchy and reporting authority.  They will accept staff guidance and direction and exert themselves to learn and acquire new information and skills from the staff.  Volunteers will make a responsible commitment to their work and carry out their duties as efficiently and independently as possible.  Board members volunteering time outside of board activities do so as volunteers, and the staff reporting authority applies.