March/April 2024

🔒 Not a member? Use the menu to visit Museum magazine home for previews!

» Want to share with a colleague who doesn’t have a membership? Forward them this preview.

» Learn how to get involved with Museum.

March/April 2024

The Volunteer Spirit

In diverse capacities, from gallery or informational guides to public programming support, volunteers often serve as museum ambassadors that bridge the institution to the community. Read on to learn about the motivations, challenges, and opportunities for volunteerism in museums.

In this issue:

From the Editor:

Valuing our Volunteers

“This moment presents exciting opportunities for innovation and collaboration. Embracing change, nurturing a sense of community, and consistently aligning with the core values of purpose and social impact, museums can catalyze a new era of volunteerism—one that transcends boundaries and fosters enduring connections between volunteers, visitors, communities, and the museums that enrich their lives.”

» Read the full introduction to this issue from Museum’s editor, Dean Phelus.

Rethinking the Status Quo


by Jenny Woods, Brandi Shawn-Chaparro, and Abbey Earich

What does museum volunteer retention look like in a post-pandemic world?

Pride of Place


Feature | by Tracy Ovenell

The Quincy Valley Historical Society & Museum is a community jewel that runs mainly on volunteer power.

Slowing Down With Intention


by Claire M. D’Emic

Through reflective practice, the Green Teens volunteers at the Long Island Children’s Museum develop programming for visitors—and lifelong skills.

Welcoming Change


by Valentina M. Quezada

The USC Pacific Asia Museum took a trust-building approach to working with docents on an evolving education program for student tours.

In Defense of Volunteerism


by Chris Morehead

Volunteers play a vital role for museums, and museums need to prioritize their volunteer programs.

A Renewal in the Rebuilding


by Michelle Carpenter

Docent programs that evolve with the times will continue to serve their museums and communities well.

Mar/Apr 2024 issue

By the Numbers:
Museum Volunteers

Explore some of the data from 5,340 museum volunteers who participated in the 2023 Annual Survey of Museum-Goers. (US adult educational attainment data from US Census Bureau.)

» Explore more Data Stories from the Annual Survey of Museum-Goers.


Volunteers are twice as likely as
other museum visitors to say that museums have helped them gain civic empowerment.


of museum volunteers have a college degree, compared with 34% of all US adults.


Volunteers are 20% more likely than other museum visitors to say museums support the quality of life in their community.


is the median age of museum volunteers.

Your Member Access to Museum

View these recent digital editions by clicking their cover, or access PDFs from the Full Issue Archives.

To access other digital editions (beginning in December 2014), click any of the covers above, then in the new window: Click Menu in the upper left, click Contents View, and scroll to find the issue on the left. If you are looking for an issue published prior to 2014, please contact us at

Missing a print issue? If your print issue didn’t arrive, you can submit a claim within six months of the publication date. The issue is mailed to: Professional members; Retired Museum Professional members; Tier 2, Tier 3, Ally, and Industry Member organizations; and magazine subscribers.

Stay tuned!

May/June 2024 – Health and Well-being (our 2024 Annual Meeting theme)

July/August 2024 – Polarization

September/October 2024 – Leadership, article pitches due May 6, 2024

November/December 2024 – DEAI, article pitches due July 8, 2024

» Explore the Editorial Calendar for potential topics under each theme.

Like what you’re reading?

Ensure you’ll get another year of award-winning Museum content, and be first to know when new magazine issues and other great AAM membership perks are available.

Want to share the gift of Museum?

Learn how to gift a membership, including a subscription to Museum magazine and all other AAM benefits, in our Membership FAQs.

AAM Member-Only Content

AAM Members get exclusive access to premium digital content including:

  • Featured articles from Museum magazine
  • Access to more than 1,500 resource listings from the Resource Center
  • Tools, reports, and templates for equipping your work in museums
Log In

We're Sorry

Your current membership level does not allow you to access this content.

Upgrade Your Membership

Subscribe to Field Notes!

Packed with stories and insights for museum people, Field Notes is delivered to your inbox every Monday. Once you've completed the form below, confirm your subscription in the email sent to you.

If you are a current AAM member, please sign-up using the email address associated with your account.

Are you a museum professional?

Are you a current AAM member?

Success! Now check your email to confirm your subscription, and please add to your safe sender list.