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To respect the health and safety of our community, we are temporarily closed.
Location
200 Larkin St.
San Francisco, CA 94102
415.581.3500
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A man wearing glasses speaks to a group, gesturing toward a wall decal depicting two men sitting on the floor

Volunteering at the Asian Art Museum

Volunteers enjoy an intimate relationship with the Asian Art Museum, supporting and enriching the visitor experience.

The museum relies on the enthusiasm, energy  and commitment of more than 500 individuals — architecture guides, docents, storytellers and frontline volunteers — to enhance the museum experience for visitors, bringing art and people together.

Would you like to be part of the dedicated group of frontline volunteers who bring the museum alive for visitors? Become a valued member of the Asian Art Museum frontline volunteer team. No previous experience is required and you don’t have to be an expert in Asian art. Frontline volunteers come from all walks of life and backgrounds, from high-schoolers to retirees.

What Is a Frontline Volunteer?

Frontline volunteers help either with visitor services (information desk and coat check) and/or in the museum boutique. Visitor services volunteers extend a friendly welcome when visitors first arrive and they guide them to locations and activities of interest. Museum boutique volunteers provide excellent customer service, creating a great retail experience by helping visitors find merchandise that relates to the collection galleries and/or special exhibitions.

Being a Frontline Volunteer

Requirements

  • You are at least 16 years old
  • You have a specific interest in volunteering for an art museum
  • You can commit to at least two four-hour shifts each month for one year (96 hours annually)

Expectations

  • You have a desire to make each visitor’s experience of the Asian Art Museum a memorable one
  • You have an outgoing, positive and enthusiastic attitude and are comfortable meeting and interacting with a wide variety of people using clear verbal communication skills
  • You are reliable and punctual for volunteer assignments
  • You show a willingness to cooperate with staff and other volunteers, accepting supervision and evaluation of your volunteer work
  • You are familiar with and have access to a computer for correspondence and schedulingYou will be warm and welcoming to all visitors, greeting each visitor with a smile
  • You have a willingness to learn what you need to know to do your volunteer assignment

Because we serve diverse audiences, multilingual skills are a plus but not a requirement

Benefits

  • The opportunity to learn more about the Asian Art Museum’s collection and special exhibitions
  • Unlimited FREE admission to the museum, including special exhibitions, any time when you are not volunteering
  • Invitations to exclusive volunteer-only tours and events
  • Access to the museum’s fourth-floor research library (by appointment)
  • Opportunities to volunteer with others who have similar interests and to share your enjoyment and knowledge of the museum with visitors
  • Voices newsletter, a publication written by volunteers for other volunteers and published three times a year
  • 20% discount in the museum boutique, 10% discount in museum cafe, 20% discount on museum membership (must be an active volunteer at the time of purchase or renewal)
  • Pride in representing a valued art museum to visitors from your neighborhood and from around the world
  • Once you become a frontline volunteer, you’ll hear about additional volunteer opportunities around the museum

How to Apply to Become an Asian Art Museum Frontline Volunteer

Learn more or apply online using one of the links below. You can also print out an application for submission.

Volunteer applications are accepted at all times. We will keep your volunteer application on file for up to six months. You will be contacted within two to three weeks of receipt regarding the status of your volunteer application and/or to attend a mandatory orientation session/interview. SFUSD students applying to fulfill community service hours should check the appropriate box on the volunteer application. Volunteers applying for the summer months (May to September) must apply by May to be considered. Volunteer orientation sessions/interviews are held on the second Wednesday and fourth Saturday of each month and throughout the month as needed.

Museum Boutique Volunteers

Work side-by-side with staff to create a great retail experience by providing excellent customer service.

As a museum boutique volunteer, you’ll work side-by-side with staff to create a great retail experience by providing excellent customer service. You’ll learn to work the computerized cash register and how to speak to visitors about the merchandise. You’ll also help to maintain the neat and tidy appearance of the boutique. In addition, you’ll provide information about where things are located in the museum.

We pride ourselves on creating engaging and friendly visitor experiences as we share our passion for Asian art and culture through the products that we sell. Volunteering in the boutique can be a lot of fun as you get to interact with visitors from around the world, learn and share about the museum, explore new products and contribute to the financial support of the museum’s exhibitions and programs.

Being a Museum Boutique Volunteer

Requirement
  • Long periods of standing are required
Expectations
  • An interest in and willingness to learn and then talk to visitors about museum boutique merchandise
  • A willingness to learn the computerized cash register
  • A willingness to cooperate with staff and other volunteers, accepting supervision and evaluation of your volunteer work
  • Previous retail experience is not required but can be a plus
  • A warm, outgoing and enthusiastic attitude with clear verbal communication skills
  • Dependable, accountable and trustworthy – reliable and punctual for volunteer assignments
  • A neat appearance consistent with representing the museum to our visitors
  • Because we serve a diverse audience, multilingual skills are a plus but not a requirement
  • Familiarity with and access to a computer for correspondence and scheduling
What more should you know about volunteering in the boutique?
  • There are several ways to help in the boutique: ringing sales on the register, assisting visitors on the sales floor by answering questions, suggesting products and/or finding boxes in storage
  • The boutique has an ebb and flow of visitors, with some days and times being busier than others. In between rushes of people there are quieter times where we tackle restocking and cleaning and learn more about products, the museum or Asian art in general
  • You will work alongside a variety of people, both staff and volunteer, from various backgrounds and experiences. This is a great opportunity to learn new skills, pick up more knowledge or get to know new people

Please feel free to contact volunteer@asianart.org with any questions you may have prior to applying. We look forward to seeing you in the boutique.

Training and time commitment
  • A mandatory orientation/interview session is required before you start volunteering (scheduled when your volunteer application is accepted for consideration)
  • On-the-job training with a museum boutique staff member and/or a mentor volunteer
  • Ongoing briefings about new merchandise and changes in the museum boutique each time you come to volunteer
  • Two four-hour shifts each month for at least one year (96 hours annually)
  • There are two museum boutique shifts daily, Tuesdays through Sundays, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 3 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. (Thursday evenings, seasonally, 5:15 to 9:15 p.m.)

Complete and submit your volunteer application online.

Visitor Services Volunteers

Become an essential part of frontline operations, extending a warm welcome to visitors when they first arrive.

Information Desk & Coat Check

As a visitor services volunteer, you are an essential part of frontline operations, extending a warm welcome to visitors when they first arrive. You’ll provide information about the museum and the San Francisco area, as well as distributing floorplans, audio tours and assisted listening devices. In addition, you’ll check out wheelchairs and strollers and make change for parking meters. The information desk and the coat check are staffed exclusively by volunteers.

  • Visitor services volunteers report to the associate manager of visitor services, admissions
  • Some periods of standing are required as well as the ability to handle visitors’ backpacks and bags
  • On-the-job training with a mentor volunteer will be provided
Expectations of Visitor Services Volunteers
  • A desire to make each visitor’s Asian Art Museum experience memorable
  • An interest in and willingness to learn what you need to know to do your volunteer assignment
  • A willingness to cooperate with staff and other volunteers, accepting supervision and evaluation of your volunteer work
  • A warm, outgoing attitude with clear verbal communication skills
  • Dependable, accountable, and trustworthy – reliable and punctual for volunteer assignments
  • A neat appearance consistent with representing the museum to our visitors
  • Because we serve a diverse global audience, multilingual skills are a plus but not a requirement
  • Familiarity with and access to a computer for correspondence and scheduling
Training and Time Commitment
  • A mandatory orientation/interview session is required before you start volunteering (scheduled when your volunteer application is accepted for consideration)
  • On-the-job training with a mentor volunteer
  • Ongoing briefings from museum staff about what’s happening each time you come to volunteer
  • Two four-hour shifts each month for at least one year (96 hours annually)
  • There are two information desk shifts daily, Tuesdays through Sundays, 9:45 a.m. to 1:45 p.m. and 1:30 to 5:30 p.m. (Thursday evenings, seasonally, 5:15 to 9:15 p.m.)

Complete and submit your volunteer application online.

teamLab Education Volunteers
Not currently accepting applications
Help visitors bring their sea creature artworks to life in a teamLab interactive digital installation.

As a teamLab education volunteer, you are an essential part of the education and frontlines teams. You will extend a warm welcome to visitors when they enter the Shriram Educational Learning Center to experience teamLab Sketch Aquarium or teamLab Sketch Ocean. As seen in the video and images on the linked webpages, you will help visitors bring their sea creature artwork to life in this interactive digital installation. Visitors create their own sea creatures using 10 templates (seahorse, octopus, fish in various shapes) and then scan them so the images appear on floor-to-ceiling digital screens, swimming along with other merry sea life. teamLab Sketch Aquarium and teamLab Sketch Ocean are staffed by both museum employees and volunteers.

  • teamLab education volunteers report to the Manager of School and Teacher Programs
  • teamLab Sketch Aquarium volunteer shifts are available from Tuesday, Feb. 4 through Wednesday, Apr. 1, 2020
  • teamLab Sketch Ocean volunteer shifts are available from Friday, Apr. 24, 2020, through Sunday, Jan. 31, 2021
  • Some periods of standing are required
  • An ability to work well with children is required
  • A museum staff member will provide on-the-job training and regular briefings
Expectations of teamLab Education Volunteers
  • A desire to make each visitor’s time at the museum memorable because of the teamLab Sketch Aquarium experience
  • An interest in and willingness to learn what you need to know to do your volunteer assignment
  • A willingness to cooperate with staff and other volunteers, accepting supervision and evaluation of your volunteer work
  • A warm, outgoing attitude and clear verbal communication skills
  • Dependable, accountable and trustworthy
  • Reliable and punctual for volunteer assignments
  • A neat appearance consistent with representing the museum to our visitors
  • Because we serve a diverse global audience, multilingual skills are a plus but not a requirement
  • Familiarity with and access to a computer for correspondence and scheduling
Training and Time Commitment
  • A mandatory onboarding orientation/interview session is required before you start volunteering (scheduled when your volunteer application is accepted for consideration)
  • On-the-job training with a museum staff member
  • Ongoing briefings from museum staff about what’s happening each time you come to volunteer
  • A minimum of three four-hour shifts each month
  • teamLab Aquarium (Feb. 4–Apr. 1, 2020) shifts are Tuesdays through Sundays , 1–5 p.m., and Thursday evenings, 5–9 p.m.
  • teamLab Ocean (Apr. 24, 2020–Jan. 31, 2021) are Tuesdays through Sundays, 10 a.m.–2 p.m. and 1–5 p.m., and Thursday evenings 5–9 p.m.

Complete and submit your volunteer application online.

Storytelling Volunteers
Not currently accepting applications

Asian Art Museum storytellers deliver specialized tours that engage visitors with works of art through stories. Storytellers conduct school programs during the week and public tours on weekends. Storytellers engage visitors of all ages with a focus on children pre-K through middle school and their adult companions. Programs take place in the museum’s collection galleries as well as special exhibitions. For a sample of what Asian Art Museum storytellers do, check out our series of storytelling videos.

  • Storytelling volunteers report to the museum’s education department.
  • Mandatory training and mentoring is provided by the museum.
Expectations of Storytelling Volunteers
  • A special interest in school and multigenerational audiences.
  • An interest in learning about the arts, cultures and stories of Asia.
  • Familiarity with and access to a computer for correspondence and scheduling.
  • A warm, outgoing and enthusiastic attitude with clear verbal communication skills.
  • Dependable, accountable, and trustworthy – reliable and punctual for volunteer assignments.
  • Able to work collaboratively with other storytellers and teachers to provide the best experience for our visitors.
  • Flexible, with an interest in working with all visitors, including those with language barriers or learning disabilities.
  • A neat appearance consistent with representing the museum to our visitors.
  • Because we serve a diverse audience, multilingual skills are a plus but not a requirement.
Training and Time Commitment
  • We are not currently accepting applications for storytelling volunteers. If you are interested in future training opportunities, please contact the education department at schools@asianart.org.
  • Conduct at least 14 tours per year (one to two tours/month during the school year. Tours last about an hour).
  • Complete ongoing continuing education (about eight hours per year).
  • Following graduation, commit to at least three years of service.
  • Pay annual dues of $25.
  • Maintain an active museum membership.