Volunteer with UCL Museums

Role profile: Autumn 2023

We are looking for enthusiastic and friendly individuals to support the front of house operation at University College London’s three museums: the Grant Museum of Zoology, Petrie Museum of Egyptian and Sudanese Archaeology, and UCL Art Museum.

As a museums volunteer, you will assist our visitor services team in welcoming the public to our internationally renowned collections and encouraging visitors to explore the many thousands of objects on display.

No specialist experience is necessary and full training will be provided, all we ask is a regular commitment and a willingness to get stuck in across one (or all) of our museum sites.

Volunteering Application Form

Petrie Museum image

About us

Our front of house team is made up of Volunteers, Museum Visitor Services Assistants (MVSAs), and a Visitor Services Manager. Collectively we are responsible for running the museums when open to the public and facilitating out-of-hours events, private bookings, and school visits.

UCL Museums are dedicated to encouraging a supportive and inclusive culture across our team. We recognise that a diverse volunteer team brings a range of voices to our museums and helps us to remain relevant and accessible to all who visit. A key responsibility of the role is to provide a safe and inclusive environment where visitors from all backgrounds can discover the objects and stories within our collections.


Our MVSAs and volunteers are based across all three museums so you will get the opportunity to work across all sites on a regular basis if you wish. 

Grant Museum of Zoology

The only remaining university zoological museum in London, it houses approximately 68,000 specimens covering the entire animal kingdom and much of the history of life on Earth. The museum, founded in 1828 as a teaching collection for University College London students, is packed full of skeletons, mounted animals and specimens preserved in fluid. Many of the species on display are now endangered or extinct, and our collection includes Dodo bones, a Quagga skeleton and the remains of several Thylacines. The Grant Museum is currently undergoing improvement works and is scheduled to reopen in January 2024.

Petrie Museum of Egyptian & Sudanese Archaeology

The Petrie Museum houses an estimated 80,000 objects. This makes it one of the most significant collections of Egyptian and Sudanese archaeology outside of Egypt, ranking (internationally) behind only the British Museum and Egyptian Museum of Berlin in number of items. Specialising in objects of daily life, the museum illustrates life in the Nile Valley from prehistory into the time of the Pharaohs, then through the Ptolemaic, Roman, and Coptic periods right up to the Islamic period.

UCL Art Museum

Based in a traditional print room, our teaching and research collections contain over 10,000 objects including paintings, drawings, prints, and sculpture dating from 1490 to the present day. Select artworks on paper are displayed in the print room as part of temporary exhibitions, whilst paintings and sculptures are displayed in public spaces across campus. The collection was founded in 1847 with a gift of the sculpture models and drawings by the neo-classical artist John Flaxman. Many of these are permanently displayed in the Flaxman Gallery, located in the central UCL Library in the same building nearby.

Education project in Grant Museum

Shift commitments & hours

As part of your induction, new volunteers will need to attend a training day in early November 2023, and a recommended four shadow shifts in your first month. Thereafter, we ask for a minimum commitment of two shifts per month, although you are welcome to pick up more!

Shifts are available during museum opening periods as follows:

Tuesday – Friday: 12:45 – 17:15.

Saturday: 10:45 – 14:00 & 13:45 – 17:15.

There will also be opportunities to volunteer at out-of-hours or off-site events on an ad hoc basis. All volunteers are given a 15-minute rest break during shifts, alongside comfort breaks.

Role description

Our Volunteer team assist our Museum Visitor Services Assistants (MVSAs) in providing an inclusive, safe and welcoming experience. They play an important role in helping to bring the museum collections to life for all our visitors. Volunteer responsibilities include:

  • Providing a warm welcome: Greeting visitors upon arrival and assisting with access needs
  • Wayfinding and safeguarding: Helping visitors find their way around the museums and supervising the gallery space to ensure it is safe and secure
  • Helping visitors engage with the collections by answering questions and giving short talks about museum objects and stories (subject to curatorial guidance)
  • Supporting the MVSAs to keep the Museums a safe environment and assisting with building evacuations during emergency situations

Optional opportunities

  • Supporting special museum activities and events, such as children’s workshops or late-night openings
  • Conducting research into objects or themes for use in short talks or online blog posts

What are we looking for?

We are looking for people who are passionate about museums and with sharing our collections far and wide! You do not need to be affiliated with University College London or a UCL student to volunteer with us, nor do you need to have any previous museum experience. All we ask for is a willingness to learn.

In particular we are looking for people who have:

  • An interest in museums, galleries, and/or our collections, and who are excited to share this passion with our visitors
  • Good communication skills and the ability to connect with people in a clear and friendly way
  • The ability to give a regular commitment to the museums, attending a minimum of two volunteer shifts per calendar month
  • Willingness to feed back on the volunteer experience at UCL Museums so we can continually improve our volunteer opportunities

What can we offer you?

We are committed to investing in our volunteers, providing encouragement, support and training to help you achieve your goals. As a volunteer with UCL Museums you can expect the following:

  • Full role training as part of your induction, as well as regular refresher sessions
  • The chance to get involved with supporting visitor experience projects such as our family learning programme, short talks, and content creation
  • Career development advice including signposting opportunities and industry experience
  • A reference when applying for other jobs or positions
  • Regular news and updates from the museum visitor services team, as well as optional social activities and knowledge-sharing opportunities with fellow volunteers and museum colleagues
  • Reimbursement of travel expenses up to the value of a London Zones 1-6 travelcard
  • Affiliation with the Students' Union UCL Volunteering Service and associated benefits if you are a UCL student

How to apply

Volunteering Application Form

If you are interested in volunteering with us, please click above to complete our online application form. If you require an application form in an alternative format, please email us on the address given below. Applications open on Monday 2 October 2023 and close at 23:59 on Sunday 15 October 2023.

Following the end of the application window, we will be in touch to advise whether you have been invited to a volunteer assessment centre. Assessment centres are scheduled to take place on Wednesday 25 October and Saturday 28 October, you will only need to attend one. Regrettably due to volume of applications, we are unable to provide feedback to unsuccessful applicants who are not invited to an assessment centre.

We endeavour to make reasonable adjustments for those who face barriers to attending the assessment. Please contact us using the email address below if you would like to discuss additional requirements.

If you have any questions or would like more information about the role, please contact our Museum Visitor Services Team at museums@ucl.ac.uk.

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