Recruiting Volunteers

Our museum is probably like most museums in North Dakota in that we depend completely on volunteers.  We don’t have any full time or even part time staff.

One of our goals is to expand our hours to being open 7 days per week.  The Ronald Reagan Minuteman Missile State Historic Site is attracting thousands of visitors to Cooperstown and we’d like to encourage as many as possible to visit the museum.  To that end we have established the Northern Plains Cold War Interpretive Center in the museum for visitors who would like to learn more about the Cold War after visiting Oscar Zero and November 33. 

There is an organization called the American Association for Museum Volunteers (AAMV) that can help with recruiting and retaining volunteers.  Their website is at 

They posted some notes by Maretta Hemsley-Wood, Manager, Docent Program, Smithsonian Institution National Air and Space Museum & Regional Director, AAMV concerning volunteers.  Some of her ideas were:

  • Recruit graduate students
  • Younger people who are still working or who have just retired
  • Businesses and /or Corporations can allow employees to volunteer
  • Recruit retired teachers to conduct school programs
  • Blogging party
  • Advertise recruitment for museum volunteers
  •  Volunteer
  • Recognition for service years
  • Academic training for volunteers
  • Monthly curatorial training for volunteers
  • Assisted Living
  • Flyers posted at churches

They all sound like good ideas and have definitely given me some new ideas on how and where to recruit volunteers.