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Shell museum seeks volunteers

By Staff | Jul 1, 2011

Shell museum volunteer Patricia Williams, left, gives information to visitors

Are you looking for a rewarding way to donate a few hours of your time? Do you have a love for people and shells?

If so, then the Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum would be a great place to spend some quality moments with other shell lovers.

Volunteer opportunities can be customized to suit your skills, interests and schedule, so you don’t have to be a shell expert to help at the Shell Museum. If you know something about shells, there are things to do with the public or behind the scenes. If not, perhaps you and other volunteers can chat about your summer plans while you prepare membership mailings. All volunteers are provided with on-site training and orientation, a Museum membership, and store and event discounts. Volunteers living off-island will receive Sanibel Causeway toll reimbursements.

“There are so many places that volunteers can make a difference,” said Diane Thomas, Public Program Specialist for the Museum. “Their talents allow us to inform and educate visitors and ensure that they get the most out of their visit to the Museum.”

Exhibit Hall docent Patricia Williams of Fort Myers signed on as a volunteer four years ago. “It’s a really interesting job,” she said. “There’s certainly a lot more to shells than one would imagine. I think I learn something new every time I come. It’s just a really fun, interesting way to spend a few hours.”

If you are interested in receiving additional volunteer information, please contact Diane Thomas at dothomas@shellmuseum.org or by calling 239-395-2233.

Current volunteer opportunities include:

• Curatorial Assistant: Organize the shells in the scientific reference selection. (Does not require shell expertise).

• Education or Group Docent: Work with scheduled student and adult tour groups (which may include Beach Walks and Shelling Talks). (Docents participate in a structured program designed to educate the public about shells and mollusks, their role in the environment, and conservation practices related to mollusks.)

• Education Office: Assist the education team with mailings, copying, data input, and information preparation of hands-on activities for the public and adopt-a-class teacher support materials.

• Educational Programs and Tour Guide: Conduct public presentations and tours for both permanent and special exhibitions (including Live Touch Tank) designed for school groups and adult tour groups.

• Exhibit Hall Docent: Provide interpretive services for visitors regarding Museum exhibits and the importance of shells in the natural world.

• Library: Help with cataloging, sorting, storage, data entry and retrieval.

• Museum Store: Assist with the daily store operations, stock inventory, wrap packages, and help customers. (Volunteers applying for this position must be willing to learn to operate the computerized cash register and enter sales transactions.)

• Office Assistant: Process mailings, input data, and assist with various office tasks.

• Public Relations/ Marketing/Graphic Design: Assist with newsletter and collateral material development, PSA and press release development and distribution, survey development and analysis, database management, writing and editing.

• Special Events: Provide support by serving in Museum booths at community events, helping with craft activities, or guiding visitors through the Museum gallery.

• Junior/Youth Docent (Trained volunteers between the ages of 12 and 18): Help Museum visitors and/or campers better understand and appreciate the importance of mollusks and their shells–in nature, history, and our culture. (Includes Live Touch Tank)