Devoted, caring volunteers bring the High Desert Museum to life.

Join a family of adults and teens who share a passionate interest in the wildlife, culture and history of the High Desert. Volunteers help the Museum in a variety of ways and, in the process, gain a sense of accomplishment and personal satisfaction.

Here’s what some of our volunteers are saying:

“I just love working with all the animals!”

“We’re so proud to be associated with such a high quality attraction.”

“All of the people you work with are just great!”

“Sharing the history of the West is meaningful to me.”

“It’s just plain fun!”

“You can’t help but learn about new and different things on every visit.”

The Museum has many volunteer opportunities for you! Among our current selections are:

Animal Interpreter – Volunteers start off by choosing one of the following live animal areas to interpret:

  • Desertarium Team: Desertarium exhibit tours, reptile (and insects, spiders, and other arthropods) presentations, encounters, and stations.
  • Mammals Team: Otters, porcupine and bobcat talks and stations.You will be conducting what is known as informal interpretation where you are stationed in front of an animal exhibit (with or without a Smart Cart) and give basic information and answer visitor’s questions. Commitment: four hours per week. Complete training will be provided.

Wildlife Program Volunteer: Wildlife volunteers assist the Wildlife staff in cleaning animal enclosures, as well as preparing diets and assisting Wildlife staff in other approved activities such as providing enrichment. Environmental enrichment provides captive animals with stimulation necessary for psychological and physical well-being. Volunteers can also be trained to help in the programs area, supporting staff in the training of program animals used in presentations. Requires an additional application process. Two different assignment areas:

Exhibit Animals: This is a great way to get to know these animals in a much more personal way. Exhibits volunteers can also learn to conduct interesting and engaging public presentations using small animals.

Program Animals: Volunteering on the Programs side of Wildlife offers the opportunity to support staff in the training of program animals used in presentations. Work with trained hawks, owls, falcons, ravens, badgers, skunks and porcupines.

Minimum qualifications: These are both very active positions with standing, crouching, kneeling and movement all day long. Ability to withstand working outside in the extreme weather conditions typical of Central Oregon. Commitment: available one full day a week, from 9:00am – 3:00pm.

Living History Interpreters: Bring history to life by donning period clothing and portraying historic characters. Or, demonstrate historically significant arts, crafts or technology from the High Desert past.

Cultural History Interpreters: Illuminate history by conducting talks, presentations and tours of the Museum’s rich exhibitions of historic artifacts.

Natural History Interpreters: Help visitors learn about High Desert wildlife. Lead nature walks on our trails. Introduce visitors to the unique flora and fauna found here.

Silver Sage Trading Store: Help visitors choose that perfect gift to remind them of the High Desert. Meet fascinating people from all over the world. Become an expert about Museum store merchandise, from jewelry to a specialized selection of books about High Desert nature and culture.

Rimrock Cafe: Help serve visitors in the cafe – run food orders out to guests, and bus tables. Fast paced, fun environment for volunteers with friendly, outgoing personalities.

School Programs: You will learn right along with the children while assisting with engaging and enriching learning opportunities in our Discovery Classes, which meet state benchmarks.

Kids’ Programs: Read a story to children once a week and oversee a corresponding craft for the children to participate in. Interact with preschool age children during our Backpack Explorers program, with a monthly rotating theme.

Photography: Use your skills in still photography or video to capture all the fun and beauty of this nationally acclaimed Museum.

Visitor Services: Greet visitors at Admissions and help direct them to their favorite interests in the Museum or provide insightful information. Talk with visitors about our many different membership levels and sell Museum memberships.

Volunteer Newsletter: Use your Publisher skills to help produce our monthly volunteer newsletter. Read the recent issue of High Desert Voices. 

Start today! Apply online. If you have additional questions, contact us.


New Volunteer Orientations are scheduled for the third Thursday of the month, except July, August and December, from 10:00 am -11:00 am. Please RSVP to Shannon Campbell at volunteer@highdesertmuseum.org.

Sign in to Volgistics here.