Adler Planetarium

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Volunteer FAQs

Q: I do not have a regular Internet connection. Can you mail me a volunteer application?
A: Yes, we are happy to mail you an application. Please call us at  312.922.7827 to request a print application.

Q: What kind of volunteer opportunities do you have?
A: We have volunteer opportunities across the entire museum. Volunteers can assist the public on the museum floor, facilitate telescope viewing during special events, or help behind the scenes with data entry and clerical needs. Each of our volunteers plays a vital role in the functioning of our institution. We do our best to match potential volunteers with opportunities that meet a combination of their skills, interests, background, and schedule availability.

Q: What kinds of people typically volunteer at the Adler?
A: One of the best parts of our volunteer community is how diverse it is! We have teens, college students, professionals, and retirees. Our volunteers come from all walks of life and enrich our community with their different talents. We look forward to learning what unique contributions you can bring to our program!

Q: Do I need to have a background in astronomy?
A: While knowledge of or interest in astronomy can be helpful, it is by no means required in order to be a volunteer. We look for candidates who are enthusiastic, willing to learn, and flexible. Depending on your role, you will receive additional training and education on space and other science topics.

Q: Does the Adler Planetarium have any corporate volunteer opportunities?
A: The Adler Planetarium always welcomes the possibility of partnering with groups and individuals who wish to volunteer as representatives of their company. Strategic volunteerism is a fast-growing trend, and we encourage you to contact us if you or your company is interested in supporting the Adler Planetarium through one-time, skill-based, or long-term opportunities.

Q: Where can I find out about internships at the Adler Planetarium?
A: Internships frequently arise and are typically geared toward high school and college students as well as recent college graduates. While we do not have a regular calendar by which interested parties can expect an internship to become available, we encourage you to check our Employment Opportunities where we post internships as they open.

Q: What is the required volunteer time commitment?
A: The required time commitment varies with each role, but typically we request at least a 6-month regular commitment.

Q: Is there a schedule requirement for volunteering?
A: Each volunteer position has a schedule that is laid out by the role’s supervisor. Some volunteers are expected once a week while others are only expected once a month. We also have special event volunteers who volunteer as needed throughout the year.

Q: What are the physical demands of volunteering?
A: The physical demands depend on each role. It is the policy of the Adler Planetarium to comply with all federal and state laws concerning the employment and volunteering of persons with disabilities and act in accordance with regulations and guidance issued by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

In general, if you are in a role that interfaces with the public, you should except to be on your feet for at least 3 hours at a time. Sometimes, volunteers are asked to help with outdoor events, so plan for all kinds of Chicago weather. Other volunteers who work behind the scenes may be sitting in front of a computer screen for at least 3 hours.

Q: How old do I have to be to volunteer?
A: Our age minimum is 15 years old, but some roles may require that you are older. Please check the requirements of any role for which you have a specific interest.

Q: Can I earn my service-learning hours for school at the Adler Planetarium?
A: Yes. Many of our teen volunteers earn service-learning hours for school at the Adler. We can print a report of the hours you have earned volunteering with us.

Q: Can I volunteer if I am a student and only available for the summer/winter?
A: We typically cannot accommodate seasonal volunteers except in our Summer Camps Volunteer position. Due to the resources we invest in volunteers, we typically ask for a long-term commitment of at least six months.

Q: What is your application process like?
A: Once you apply to volunteer, we will contact you as assignment opportunities arise that match your availability, skills, and background. Due to the high volume of applications we receive, it may be at least a month before we contact you. If your application seems to match our needs, we will arrange an in-person interview at the museum. If accepted, we will provide you with a museum orientation and any assignment-specific training. The entire process may take a couple months.

Q: I filled out a volunteer application but have not heard anything. What should I do?
A: Due to the high volume of applications that we receive, it may be at least a month until we are able to contact you about your application. If you have any questions about the status of your application, feel free to contact us at volunteer@adlerplanetarium.org.

Q: How long is the orientation?
A: The orientation is about three hours, and includes the opportunity to explore the museum, learn the layout, meet your supervisor, and arrange your assignment schedule.

Q: Do I have to wear a uniform?
A: Volunteers who work behind the scenes do not have a uniform. Those who interact with the public are typically asked to wear an Adler Planetarium t-shirt (which we will provide) and either black or khaki pants. We request that all volunteers refrain from wearing clothing printed with specific brands, logos, or images.

Q: Do you provide parking?
A: Once a volunteer has completed the orientation process, they receive a discount on parking at the parking lot just south of the Adler Planetarium. Please note: this lot is not owned by the museum and pricing is subject to change.

Q: Do I still attend my shift in inclement weather?
A: We request you arrive for your volunteer shift even if the weather is not conducive to the responsibilities of your role. If you are ever unsure, you may contact your supervisor for an update.

Q: How can I learn more?
A: If you would like more information about the Adler Planetarium’s Volunteer Program or the status of your application, please contact us at volunteer@adlerplanetarium.org. We also host periodic Open Houses for prospective volunteers to learn more about our opportunities, so please keep an eye out on our website for the date of the next one.