Volunteers

Volunteer Opportunities

The Indiana State Museum is the crossroads of everything interesting, educational and unique about the state. It’s a gathering place, a learning center, and family-friendly entertainment, all within a unique architectural treasure. With original works of art, hands-on exhibits and an atmosphere that invites exploration and discovery, the museum is an ever-evolving experience that offers something different and surprising at every visit. It is top-notch entertainment and education that enables us to see the world through Indiana eyes. We invite you to become a part of this exciting museum as a volunteer.

Featured Volunteer Opportunity - Celebration Crossing

Each year on the day after Thanksgiving, Santa Claus lands by helicopter on the front lawn of the Indiana State Museum and officially kicks off our holiday programming, Celebration Crossing. This celebration extends daily through the first week of January. To help create engaging, memorable experiences for our guests, we need volunteer help every day to assist with:

  • Santa’s house photography – take photos of young (and old) visitors spending time with Santa
  • Santa’s Front Yard – facilitate early childhood activities and crafts
  • Santa’s Workshop – facilitate elementary aged youth activities connected to designing, building and making
  • Santa Claus Express Train Conductor and Engineer – welcome guests and help board and unload the train as a conductor or take a turn driving the train yourself
  • Costumed holiday characters – slide into the role of the Christmas Tree, Holiday Mouse, Reindeer, Santa’s Elf and more as you engage and take photos with museum guests

During this same time period, we are also hosting two special experiences. Art of the Brick is a blockbuster exhibition, featuring more than 80 original sculptures made entirely of LEGO bricks. Alongside this exhibit is Cardboard Engineering, a 3,000-square-foot play space stocked with cardboard boxes of all sizes, cardboard pieces large and small, more colorful tape than you could possibly use, markers, safety scissors and much more. Both of these exhibitions also house volunteer opportunities for individuals and groups.
Get started volunteering for Celebration Crossing by emailing Eric Todd, vice president of visitor services, security & volunteers or submitting an online application here.

 

Volunteer Benefits

Volunteering at the Indiana State Museum offers many benefits:

  • Free annual membership after completion of 40 service hours; membership privileges include:
    • Free museum admission 
    • Admission to all 11 State Historic Sites
    • IMAX Theater discounts
    • Invitations to members-only events
  • Free parking when volunteering
  • Discount at the Farmer’s Market Café and the Indiana Store
  • Recognition as a valuable part of the Indiana State Museum team
  • Continuing education opportunities through our training programs and volunteer field trips
  • Letters of reference upon request
  • Documentation of hours available upon request for scholarship applications, service programs, and tax itemization


Interested in becoming a volunteer? Submit an adult application. Youth (ages 15-17) may submit a youth application. For information about these and other volunteer opportunities, please contact Eric Todd, vice president of visitor services, security & volunteers, at 317.607.9483.

Current Volunteers: Access Volgistics to sign up for shifts, check your schedule and manage your account.

1st Person Interpretation

Historical characters, ranging from Levi & Catharine Coffin to Abraham Lincoln, are a popular outreach program at the ISMHS. You will perform as your own character, wearing your own costume, to interpret a specific setting or topic. You will need to research the timeframe to develop the character so that you best show his or her daily life (i.e. what tools or instruments they may have used) to help the audience imagine what their life was like.

Accompanying Pianist

You will play the piano during select plays and performances. The Manager of Interpretive Programming and Performing Arts will work with you on musical selections and accompaniments.

Costume Designer

Are you handy with a needle and thread? Assist the Manager of Interpretive Programming and Performing Arts in designing costumes for the performing arts department. With your sewing skills, you will create designs or work from established ones. Research clothing styles to fit certain periods. Costumes are needed for a variety of shows, and range from elf costumes to men’s period suits.

Hoosier Hour Performer

Do you enjoy performing? As a member of the Hoosier Hour, you will perform as a 1940’s radio show host. Performances occur at various locations across the state, including the Indiana State Museum, Indiana State Fair, festivals and floats in parades. This is great for someone who loves to perform in front of crowds of all sizes.

Information Desk Greeter

Be the warm, friendly face of the museum. Provide visitors with needed information and assistance. You will be asked to meet and exceed the expectations of all our guests by providing professional, courteous and knowledgeable service as a representative of a team that is committed to excellence.

Liar’s Bench Presenter

Can you tell a lie? As a Liar’s Bench Presenter, you’ll work alongside the Manager of Interpretive Programming and Performing Arts to present several stories about an artifact. It’s up to the audience to decide which of the stories you tell is true. This is a good opportunity to present rare artifacts in a fun and clever way.

Marketing Assistant – Festivals & Fairs

You will work alongside the Community Marketing Coordinator to promote the ISMHS at festivals and fairs across Indiana. Engage audiences to promote upcoming programs, exhibits and special events. You will be required to assist with set-up and tear-down of events.

Naturalist’s Lab Host

You will assist visitors of all ages with a variety of interactive activities in the Naturalist’s Lab. Use general knowledge of Indiana’s natural history, including biology, geology and paleontology.

Outreach Ambassador

You will promote the Indiana State Museum & Historic Sites (ISMHS) at a variety of outreach events across the state. Generate interest in all current and upcoming programs, events, and exhibitions at the ISMHS.

Photographer

Experienced photographer to help document ISMHS events, programs and offerings. You will photograph a diverse range and age of people enjoying their visits at the Indiana State Museum in Indianapolis or any of our Historic sites in Evansville, Corydon, New Albany, Rome City, Madison, Fountain City, Geneva, New Harmony, Nashville, Vincennes and Metamora. As a photographer, you must be able to capture visitors’ engagement in an authentic and un-posed style. You must have your own camera and the ability to upload photos to Dropbox. You will be asked to provide a brief photo portfolio and sign a photography use agreement prior to engagement as volunteer photographer.

Program Support Team

The Program Support Team is an important part of our volunteer program. You will assist with preparatory and behind-the-scenes work for various museum departments – from preparing materials for activity tables/workshops to administrative support.

Prop Constructor

Construct props and other items for 19 Scenes, a series of plays created to celebrate the 19th state. You will be responsible for the research, acquisition/construction and maintenance of props for the performances. Enjoy performing? You will also be responsible for creating sound effects during the Hoosier Hour radio show.

Reptile Theater Performer

Engage and entertain guests in a musical theater performance where students learn about the various classes of reptiles and attributes that each have in common.

Retail Store Volunteer

Help support the Indiana State Museum by volunteering at one of Indy’s most unique and inspiring gift shops! The Indiana Store, located in the Indiana State Museum, features locally made products hand-crafted by small business owners working to build their businesses as well as unique merchandise you won’t find anywhere else. We want YOU to be a part of it!   

School Group Volunteer

Thousands of K-12 students visit the museum every year, and it’s our job to get them in the building and on the right track to a great visit. This position helps welcome school groups, answer questions and provide directions, and unloads lunches from the buses.

Special Events

You will provide support during special museum events, such as Celebration Crossing, Canal Nights, Pinewood Derby, Art Fair, GeoFest, Day of the Dead, Heroes in the Heartland, and others. Special events provide volunteers with unique opportunities to interact with guests such as helping a younger visitor race their Pinewood Derby car down our two-story track, participating in festive activities at our holiday programs, or engaging with visitors as you answer questions.

Celebration Crossing

Many positions are needed to ensure a successful holiday season at the museum. Brief descriptions are below, and additional information is available upon request.

  • Engineer: Responsible for the safe operation of the Santa Claus Express train. Volunteer must be at least 16 years old.
  • Conductor #1 and #2: Assist visitors with boarding and exiting the train to ensure safe practices are being followed for passenger safety.
  • Photographer: Capture special moments for guests visiting with Santa Claus in Santa’s House.
  • Santa’s Playground: Engage with visitors participating in the many activities, including crafts and the Imagination Playground, available in Santa’s Playground.
  • Holiday Characters: Spread holiday cheer as you perform as a holiday-themed and/or costumed character throughout the museum.
  • Holiday Sounds Host: Assist in the coordination of Holiday Sounds groups, who perform on several days during the holiday season. Please Note: This position may manage other volunteers.
  • Santa’s House Helper: Assist guests in obtaining their photos with Santa, fun activities and general directions as needed.
  • Celebration Crossing Greeter: Help visitors with wayfinding upon arriving to the museum. The greeter will be stationed at a kiosk near the parking garage entrance on Saturdays and Sundays, as well as the week prior to Christmas.