There are many opportunities for students at the Florida Museum of Natural History including through volunteering, independent research for university credit, internships, and employment.
Ways to Get Involved
Each division at the Florida Museum is happy to welcome any volunteers to assist with their collections. For general communications regarding volunteering in the collections, contact the Museum volunteer coordinator or contact the collection managers of a specific division. There are also opportunities to volunteer by becoming an exhibit docent or working in the Butterfly Rainforest. Volunteer orientations are held several times a year for people at least 18 years of age.
Any student interested in an independent study project for university credit through a division of the Florida Museum should contact the collections’ curator(s) about research opportunities in their field.
Independent studies can often be arranged in a number of disciplines using collection specimens. Once you have established a project with a curator as your advisor, you will need to contact your home department (i.e. Biology, Geology, Anthropology) for the appropriate independent studies course forms and application materials. You will work under the supervision of the collection curators and/or collection managers and graduate students and will communicate with your Florida Museum advisor during the course of your independent research.
Most independent research projects last for one semester, but some can last longer if the student desires and t he advisor/department approve. This is a great way to get experience, earn credit, and interact with museum researchers. Results of such studies can be readily presented at professional conferences and even adapted for publication.
Internship and employment opportunities occur variably in each division. These can include a range of opportunities and are typically funded from research grants for specific tasks and projects. These part-time appointments can be as short as a single semester or continue for several years and are perfect for students to gain research and/or collections experience while also receiving an hourly wage. These positions are infrequently acquired and advertised, but positions will be posted to the UF Jobs site as they become available.
Education and Outreach
The Florida Museum of Natural History is dedicated to public education in natural history and enhancing public appreciation of scientific research. Students and staff at the Florida Museum and associated University of Florida departments are engaged in various outreach initiatives in public education.
Many of the Florida Museum outreach and education programs are coordinated through the Center for Science Learning at Powell Hall. These include such things as classes, public lectures, summer and school holiday camps, tours, and outreach materials including the Museum “Inquiry Boxes” and MESS programs.
The Florida Museum research programs also offer outreach and public education opportunities. Many of these are collaborations with affiliated University of Florida teaching departments. More details about these opportunities can be found on the various Museum pages, and also by contacting the curators and collection managers responsible for the various programs. Here are some examples.
- Thomas Farm Dig (The Hummingbird Challenge)
This is an annual fossil dig occurring in the spring.
- Paleontology Collections
- Paleontology Field Dig
- Florida Fossil Clubs
- Panama Canal Project – Partnerships in International Research and Education
Neontological (Modern) Biological Sciences
- UF/IFAS Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences
- The Whitney Laboratory for Marine Bioscience
- UF Geology Department Outreach
- GeoGators Classroom Visits
- Curriculum Design and Teacher Professional Development
- Public Education in the Geosciences
- Public Policy and Planning
- Research-Related Outreach
Many other opportunities are available that are directed through outside organizations but offer experiences in the Florida Museum facilities or with Florida Museum researchers. Here are some examples.
- Center for Precollegiate Education and Training