Current Opportunities

There are numerous ways for undergraduate students, graduate students, and community volunteers to be involved with the UMZM.  These positions may be on a volunteer basis, work-study through the Financial Aid office, Independent Study (BIOB 392), or as an experiential learning Wildlife Biology Internship (WILD 398).

Examples of some specific and currently available projects are listed under each position.  If you are interested in any of the following opportunities, or would like to talk about developing your own project or role in the museum, please contact the curator.

Specimen Preparation

Prepare bird and mammal specimens for use in the research and teaching collections.  Duties may include specimen preparation, record-keeping, and tending to the dermestid beetle colony.  This position is ideal for students who want hands-on experience to learn anatomy, taxonomy, and preparation of research-grade specimens and materials.  Some specific opportunities include:

  • Small to medium mammal preps
  • Small to medium bird preps
  • Bird freezer inventory
  • Build a new box for the dermestid beetle colony

Accessions and Loans

Assist the curator in the organization and record-keeping of accessions and loans.  Duties may include labeling and filing new accessions, organizing specimens, pulling and packaging loans, databasing specimen information, and conducting special collections improvement projects as needed. This position is perfect for detail-oriented students interested in the use and organization of natural history collections.  Some specific opportunities include:

  • Catalog shell and coral collection
  • Georeference specimen occurrence data, to convert written localities to latitude-longitude for geographic mapping
  • Organize large skull and skeleton collections
  • Inventory alcohol collections of fish, herps, mammals, and invertebrates
  • [available Fall 2020] Inventory bird teaching collection
  • [available Fall 2020] Taxon review involving inventory, identification, georeferencing, and curation of all specimens of a taxon (species, genus, etc.) of your choice


Maintain specimens for safe, long-term storage and use.  Duties may include specimen cleaning, repair, chemical testing, archiving, and pest management.  This is a unique and specialized position for students interested in the technical or aesthetic aspects of specimen care and preservation.  Some specific opportunities include:

  • Clean, organize, and inventory mounts collection
  • Repair taxidermy mounts (cracked noses, loose feathers, etc.)
  • Chemically test and reseal alcohol collections of fish, herps, mammals, and invertebrates
  • Conduct arsenic testing on older specimens to determine exposure risk
  • Catalog and identify potential insect threats to the collections

Outreach and Displays

Develop new museum-oriented displays in the Health Sciences display cases, and/or work with the UMZM, the Montana Natural History Center, and spectrUM to create and teach outreach modules for use in public science education events both on- and off-campus.  This position is extremely flexible and great for students who are interested in creative ways to increase public engagement and appreciation of natural history collections.  Some specific opportunities include:

  • Revamp Health Sciences 1st floor display case (focused on UMZM history and mission)
  • Revamp Mansfield Library 5th floor display cases (theme flexible)
  • Catalog and revamp existing K-12 educational and public outreach modules, or create new modules


Assist the curator on special projects and social media updates to improve awareness and appreciation of the UMZM and natural history collections.  This position is extremely flexible and ideal for students with various interests in journalism, history, art, and social media management.  Some specific opportunities include:

  • Conduct interviews and sort through old documents to develop a working history of the UMZM collections, people, and facilities
  • Develop photo bank of specimens, materials, and events
  • Sort, inventory, and archive media (photo negatives, slides, digital files)
  • Develop series of social media posts following a theme or story in the UMZM
  • Restore and update historical door lettering (paint on glass)