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How to Become a Volunteer
Structure of the Volunteer Organization
In 1974, in response to a call for volunteer guides, 15 women applied for, and subsequently completed, a course of study. This was the nucleus of a volunteer organization which today is known as the Volunteer Organization of the Israel Museum. The Organization numbers more than 360 men and women, and encompasses every area of the Museum from guiding, information services, and research, to curatorial and department assistance.
The primary function of the Volunteer Organization of the Israel Museum is to serve the Museum. The Organization is integral to the process of using the Museum's resources for the benefit of the largest possible public.
Volunteer work is time-consuming and demanding, but it provides an outstanding and continuous education in all fields represented by the Museum's collections.
All volunteers must be members of the Israel Museum.
How to Become a Volunteer
Volunteers are invited to apply in the following areas:
- Staffing the Information Services
- Assisting in Departments
Applicants should make an appointment with the Coordinator of Volunteers for a preliminary interview and fill out a questionnaire documenting education, experience, and skills. A working knowledge of Hebrew and English is essential; additional languages are an asset.
It is advisable to join the scheduled guided tours in the Museum in order to become thoroughly acquainted with the collections.
The time commitment required of all volunteers is substantial. In general, the Coordinator of Volunteers and the appropriate subcommittee of the General Executive Committee set the time requirements for every area of volunteer activity. This may be revised as the need arises. Tuesday mornings should be set aside for Museum-related activities.
When the required training course has been completed, volunteers sign a Museum Volunteer Agreement which states their commitments and responsibilities.
Upon acceptance to the program, volunteers receive Museum security identification tags.
All volunteers are encouraged to attend public gallery talks and lectures given by the Museum's curators and outside experts.
Ongoing education (hishtalmut) is open to all volunteers. These sessions are compulsory for guides and recommended for all volunteers.
The following privileges are available after three months of service:
A number of scholarships for Youth Wing courses, available at the Museum's discretion, upon recommendation of the Volunteer Coordinator.
Special discounts in Museum shops and restaurants.
Free tickets to Museum events. Obtain from the Volunteer Office when available. Audio guides are free of charge.
A parking sticker for the volunteer's car, permitting entry into the Museum's private parking area. Obtain from the Volunteer Office.
Further privileges sponsored by the Museum in recognition of the commitment and contribution of the volunteers, such as: gifts for the holidays; an annual guided trip within Israel; an annual party for all volunteers; and ongoing education and enrichment programs.
Structure of the Volunteer Organization
The Volunteer Organization is under the aegis of the Director of the Museum. It is headed by the Coordinator of Volunteers, who serves a four-year term. The Coordinator works in cooperation with the General Executive Committee of the Volunteer Organization (composed of chairpersons of the different volunteer committees), to ensure the smooth operation of the volunteer program.
The Volunteer Program is divided into:
Guides convey the image of the Museum to the public, not only imparting the information necessary for a successful tour, but also acting as public relation officers.
Scheduled free guided tours are given in Hebrew, English, Spanish, and French. Perfect command of the language of the tour is a requisite. Knowledge of other languages is an asset. Other kinds of tours include tours of temporary exhibitions and/or special exhibits, and tours for VIPs and special groups.
Training courses for the Guide Program are in Hebrew and/or English and are conducted according to the needs of the Museum. Candidates are screened by an interview committee. Fees are required for the guides training course.
Following a period of six to seven months of intensive study, the guide is tested by the curatorial staff and/or course directors and approved by the Coordinator of Volunteers and the Education Committee. A three-month trial period precedes the decision to accept the guide. Periodically, guides are evaluated in a peer review process.
Guides are required to attend hishtalmut, an ongoing program of lectures given by curators or guides from the Museum, and also monthly guide meetings. Guides must set aside Tuesday mornings for Museum-related educational activities.
Guides must be available for a minimum of four tour assignments per month and are responsible for fulfilling their assigned tours.
Guides are encouraged to attend extracurricular education, such as courses at The Hebrew University, Ben Zvi Institute, or other recognized institutions. The Center for Jewish Art and other specialist societies often run seminars during the year.
Information Services Program
Information Services Volunteers must convey the image of the Museum to the public, not only imparting necessary information for visitors to the Museum, but also creating a good first impression. These volunteers have continuous and direct contact with visitors. Information service volunteers are responsible for setting the tone for a successful and enjoyable visit to the Museum. They serve in these areas:
- Information Desk: Information Services volunteers staff the information desk at the entrance pavilion. They are responsible for welcoming and orienting visitors, and distributing Museum brochures and maps in Hebrew, English, French, German, Russian and Spanish. They are responsible for membership registration and renewal, and they record visitors' remarks on the special form designed for this purpose.
- Hosts Program: The new Hosts program gives additional assistance to Museum visitors by helping them get oriented within the Museum and taking them from place to place when needed.
- Dead Sea Scrolls Information and Study Center: This newly-opened information center is designed to be a completely computerized resource center where students and scholars can do research quietly and in depth. Volunteers at the Dead Sea Scrolls Information and Study Center must complete a course in the history, content and meaning of the Dead Sea Scrolls. At the Center, volunteers guide visitors through the numerous programs on the Dead Sea Scrolls. They are ready to help students and researchers locate the information they require.
Requirements: Fluent Hebrew and English is a prerequisite. Other languages are welcome. Familiarity with the Israel Museum is an advantage. Information service volunteers must be available for at least one three hour shift per week, and must commit to serve a minimum of one year. The shifts begin at 9:45 a.m. daily and end at the closing of the Museum.
Training Programs for Information Services: Information Desk Volunteers, Hosts, and Shrine information Center volunteers are all part of Information Services and are treated as one unit. They receive training through special courses; in addition, they receive thorough on-the-job training. After the training period, the candidate is assigned to one of the services and given a permanent slot in that schedule. Attendance at hishtalmut, an ongoing program of lectures given by curators or guides from the Museum, is highly recommended. A walkabout is also given once a month to acquaint Information Service volunteers with new exhibitions, special exhibits and new acquisitions. Candidates are assessed on an ongoing basis.
One-third of the entire volunteer body serves in thirty-five different departments of the Museum. The expertise of these volunteers attracts them to these departments; many departmental volunteers are professionals in these fields.
Departmental volunteers serve in every department of the Museum, working primarily with the Museum staff, wherever extra hands are needed. Their assignments range from researching, cataloging, and mounting exhibitions to computerizing archives or polishing silver.
Departmental volunteers are directly responsible to staff members and to their committee chairperson. They are trained on the job by the staff members with whom they are working. Time commitment will be determined by the assignment.
While the assignments performed by departmental volunteers vary, requirements and privileges are the same as for all volunteers.
All departmental volunteers are encouraged to participate in the regular hishtalmut and Volunteer Organization events
The Falk information Services in Judaica, the Sherover Information Center for Israeli Art and the Main Museum Library enjoy support from many of our volunteers. (closed during renovation) These volunteers fall under the auspices of the Departmental Program chairperson..
Your work as a dedicated volunteer greatly enhances the services the Israel Museum is able to offer. The Volunteer Organization looks forward to welcoming you into its large circle of devoted members.