Support

Volunteer Program

Our volunteers are the beating heart of the Museum’s workforce. Both on the floor and behind the scenes, these passionate, generous and skilled individuals contribute to a museum that fosters connection, curiosity and the unexpected. The Museum is alive with objects, stories and experiences waiting for you to get involved.

By volunteering at Powerhouse you will share your passion, feed your mind, expand your personal horizons and connect to your community. Some say that volunteering helps us live longer and research reveals that those who volunteer are definitely happier.

The Powerhouse is unique in that the volunteers here are all as different and eclectic – young, old, engineers, historians, grandmothers, parents, students – as the museum itself, but held together by a sheer kindness of spirit and deep love of the Powerhouse.

— Iolanthe Brooks, Powerhouse Visitor Services Volunteer

Interested in volunteering?

Recruitment is based on the Exhibitions schedule and volunteer roles are advertised below. If you have any further questions, please email volunteercentre@maas.museum and our Volunteers team will be in touch.


1. Visitor Experience Volunteers
Volunteers play an important role at our Museum sites, Powerhouse Museum in Ultimo, Sydney Observatory, at the Rocks and the Museums Discovery Centre at Castle Hill. By contributing to the creation of a lively, welcoming, interactive public environment. Volunteers encourage and foster visitor interaction by starting conversations and sharing stories with visitors about objects, co-delivering tours and facilitating hands-on activities. Read more about the role and apply here.

2. Volunteer with the Absolutely Queer Exhibition
We are currently recruiting volunteers to assist in February with our exhibition Absolutely Queer, which coincides with Sydney’s WorldPride 2023. Absolutely Queer is an exhibition celebrating contemporary queer creativity for Sydney WorldPride 2023. The exhibition explores Sydney’s leading queer creatives who are reshaping attitudes towards their community through their work, creative processes and personal stories. Absolutely Queer will feature costumes, design, artworks, fashion, activism and multimedia. Read more about this volunteering opportunity and apply here.

3. Volunteer with the Lab Network at Powerhouse Castle Hill
The Lab Network is a network of technology clubs for children and young people who identify as being on the autism spectrum and who enjoy working with computers. At the Powerhouse Castle Hill, these sessions focus on building skills in computer programming, coding, gaming, and other technology-based interests to young people on the neurodiverse spectrum. This weekend role is a great opportunity to work with a dynamic team and bring the collection to life, volunteers will work closely with the Education and Visitor Services team at Castle Hill Museum, delivering a valuable program for the community, in collaboration with the Lab Network. Read more about the role and apply here.

4. Behind the Scenes Volunteers
Behind the Scenes volunteers support staff in work that happens outside the public areas of the museum in a wide range of departments including: Education and Visitor Services, Curatorial, Registration, Conservation and IT. Please note: Positions in Behind the Scenes departments are limited and are first made available to our existing pool of volunteers and are then advertised here.

5. Collection Conversations
Volunteers are at the heart of our community. Both on-site and behind the scenes, these passionate, generous and skilled individuals contribute to a Museum that fosters connection and curiosity. The Collection Conversations series are online presentations led by our Volunteers. They provide access to the Museum for seniors and other groups who are unable to visit the Museum at this time, enabling them to explore the collection from home. New Collection Conversations are broadcast each month and are designed to inspire conversations and evoke memories. If you or your group would like to view the next Collection Conversation, please join the mailing list.

 


Frequently Asked Questions

What do volunteers do at the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences?

Volunteers assist in a variety of ways facilitating Visitor Experiences on the floor and assisting ‘Behind the Scenes’ in departments such as Curatorial and Conservation.

A volunteer demonstrates a pump in The Steam Revolution exhibition
A volunteer demonstrates a pump in The Steam Revolution exhibition

Volunteer hosts provide a starting point for visitors to the Powerhouse site. Volunteer hosts participate in the daily activities of the museum, they provide information to visitors whilst invigilating gallery spaces. It’s a role that requires direct contact with the public and suits people who are good talkers and listeners, and who feel comfortable and at ease interacting with a wide range of people.

Education volunteers assist education staff in the delivery of programs and workshops to school groups. It’s a role that requires direct contact with students and suits people who are good talkers and listeners and who enjoy collaborating with staff.

Exhibition specialists share their knowledge of and interest in a specific subject with Powerhouse visitors. This would include delivering Outreach talks internally and externally, presenting discovery stations and providing short object talks within the Collection spaces. Discipline specialists need to be confident public speakers and comfortable mixing with people.

Storytellers engage with a broad range of visitors from the very young to the very young at heart. They often present relevant children’s books to the museum’s younger audiences but can also be called upon to use their unique communication skills to bring exhibitions and objects alive in a fun, narrative based interpretation for the visitor.

Behind the Scenes volunteers support staff in work that happens outside the public areas of the museum, in a wide range of departments including; Education and Visitor Services, Curatorial, Registration, Conservation and IT.

Please note: Positions in Behind the Scenes departments are limited and are first made available to our existing pool of volunteers and are then advertised here.

What qualifications and experience do I need?

Volunteers come from a range of backgrounds and age groups, they are united by a love of science and design, coupled with a keenness to learn and willingness to be part of the team at the Powerhouse. Some people prefer to use their existing skills in their volunteer work, whilst others elect to develop new skills and assist in areas where they have an interest but no prior work experience. Some departments require a degree of experience of their volunteers, however this depends upon the task being performed.

Can I volunteer any day?

It depends upon the voluntary role you take up. Most ‘visitor experience’ roles are available 7 days a week. ‘Behind the scenes’ roles are only available on weekdays.

What training is provided?

Visitor Experience volunteers must commit to four half-day training sessions, covering such topics as customer service, basics of museum interpretation and education, Museum content and taking guided tours. Behind the scenes volunteers are provided orientation training and then trained on the job by their supervisors.

Is there ongoing training?

Yes – we have an extensive training and professional development program to support volunteers in their role and allow them to experience all areas of the museum.

Does the Powerhouse Museum 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.

Am I covered for insurance while volunteering with the Museum?

Volunteers are fully covered by appropriate insurance coverage when volunteering on the Museum premises. Volunteers are not covered travelling to and from the Museum. All volunteers must complete the volunteer registration form and fill out the attendance sheets each time they work at the Museum, so they are covered in case of an accident.

Volunteer Recognition and Benefits

    • Quarterly Newsletter and weekly Bulletin
    • Regular social outings and activities
    • Annual Volunteer Celebration/Christmas Party after completing 40 hours
    • Ongoing Volunteer training sessions and exhibition walkthroughs
    • 10% discount at the Powerhouse Museum shop
    • One year free museum membership after completing 100 hours or 50 weekend hours
    • Access to the Volunteer Centre; lounge, kitchen, library, computer, photocopier.

To find out more email volunteercentre@maas.museum

Staff and volunteers in the Eveleigh Railway Workshop
Staff and volunteers in the Eveleigh Railway Workshop
Curatorial volunteer Alysha Buss assists Leonie Jones in the photography studio
Curatorial volunteer Alysha Buss assists Leonie Jones in the photography studio