Current Opportunities

There are many 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, 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 mammal preps
  • Small to medium bird preps
  • Wash skeletons after removal from beetle colony
  • Bird freezer inventory

Accessions & Curation

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 organization and use of natural history collections.  Some specific opportunities include:

  • Catalog, number, and file new specimens
  • Georeference specimen occurrence data, to convert written localities to latitude-longitude for geographic mapping
  • Inventory alcohol collections of fish, herps, mammals, and invertebrates
  • Taxon review involving inventory and curation of all specimens of a taxon (species, genus, etc.) of your choice

Conservator

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 and 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 existing K-12 educational and public outreach modules, or create new modules or materials
  • Design printable coloring sheets and activities for PreK-3 students based on museum specimens or collections

Art & Media

Assist the curator on special interdisciplinary projects.  This position is extremely flexible and ideal for students with various interests in journalism, history, art, and media.  Some specific opportunities include:

  • Film and edit videos for specimen preparation training
  • Social media take-over with posts following a theme or story in the UMZM
  • Design t-shirts, stickers, and enamel pins for fundraisers and/or Carcass Club
  • Conduct interviews and sort through old documents to develop a working history of the UMZM collections, people, and facilities
  • Write feature articles for UMZM newsletters
  • Develop photo bank of specimens, materials, and events
  • Sort, inventory, and archive media (photo negatives, slides, digital files)
  • Restore and update historical door lettering (paint on glass)