Volunteer opportunity description

Sensational Butterflies 2018 exhibition is a live Butterfly and Moth specimen experience located in the grounds of the Natural History Museum (NHM). This exhibition will open to the public for 6 months from 29 March 2018 to 16 September 2018. This is an exciting and unique exhibition experience which offers our visitors the chance to immerse themselves in the wonderful world of Butterflies and Moths from around the world.

We are looking for volunteers to support our knowledgeable, friendly and experienced staff to interact with our visitors of all ages and support our visitors to learn more about butterflies and moths. Anyone over the age of 18 can join in; you do not need to have a background in science or education to take part.

What will be involved?

Main tasks will include:

  • Caring for the butterfly and moths in the butterfly house. The volunteer team help coordinate and undertake the gluing of chrysalides/pupae in the pupae chamber and ensure proper conditions for the butterflies/moths to emerge. Volunteers will also ensure visitors understand how to interact with the exhibition and will remove dead specimens on a daily basis.
  • Gardening and looking after the environment inside and outside the butterfly house. The volunteer team play an important role in ensuring that the plant material in the house is maintained to create a good habitat for the butterflies/moths and serve as a beautiful environment for our guests.
  • Talking with our visitors about butterflies and moths. Volunteers play a key role in promoting investigation, awareness of the world of butterflies and moths to our visitors. The focus for volunteers will be the species in the Butterfly House from South America, Africa, Australia and Asia, however volunteers will also promote British butterflies and moths inspiring visitors in learning how to attract and support species to your their own gardens and green spaces.

When we need you?

Sensational Butterflies 2018 is open to the public 7 days a week and so we are ideally looking for volunteers who are able to commit at least 1 day a week, Monday to Sunday for 6 months between 29 March 2018 to16 September 2018. Please indicate which day(s) you are available to volunteer in your application.

Ideally, we are looking to assign each volunteer to a specific day each week as per your availability but there is flexibility within this schedule to swap and change with others within the team once the training has been completed.

On the day you volunteer we ask you to arrive at the Museum for 9.30 to prepare the Butterfly House for opening and attend a morning briefing. A volunteer day is typically between 9.30 - 18.00 with an hour for lunch and as many breaks as needed in between, as conditions in the exhibitions will be hot and humid. 

Selection, Induction and Training for volunteers

Before you can volunteer you will need to attend a volunteer selection day on either Thursday 8 March or Friday 9 March 2018 (10.00 - 14.30) at the Museum. Please indicate which day you can attend in your application.

Once you are selected to be a volunteer we will be holding two training sessions and on one of these it is essential that you are able to attend for your safety and the enjoyment of your role on either Tuesday 20 March or Friday 23 March (10.00 – 16.45). Please indicate which day you can attend in your application.

All complete applications will be submitted for consideration and all candidates will receive a response via email to let you know if you have been selected for the role or not. If you do not receive an email it is worth checking in your Junk/Spam folder in case it went there by mistake.

The short-listing decision is based solely on the following information so please do use the tips below to help make your application as effective as possible!

·  Read the role description carefully to ensure the role is appropriate for you

·  Provide specific examples in your answers of what you have done and how you meet each requirement

Volunteer Expenses and Benefits 

We recognise your significant contribution as NHM volunteers and realise it is essential to ensure that you are supported whilst giving your valuable time to us on a regular basis. We are committed to providing rewarding experiences for you and will endeavour to help you in whatever way possible during your time as a volunteer with us.

As part of our volunteer offer, volunteers can be reimbursed a maximum of £15 per week towards their travel/lunch expenses. Alternatively, if you already receive free travel we can offer you lunch up to a maximum of £5 (on your volunteer day).

As an NHM volunteer you can receive:·        

  • 20% discount in the Museum shop and restaurant (seasonal variations apply)
  • Invitation to seasonal Museum special events
  • Access to lectures, special events and Nature Live talks from NHM Science Group
  • 10 Complimentary Friends & Family Tickets to paid temporary exhibitions at the Museum
  • Invitation to National Volunteers Week Party in June
  • Discounts at affiliated Museums and galleries (list provided on request)
  • Subscription to in-house museum magazines (Waterhouse Times, evolve and WILD WORLD)

This position is entirely voluntary and is therefore unpaid. Any offer of a volunteer placement is not intended to create a legally binding contract between us and any agreement may be cancelled at any time at the discretion of either party. Neither of us intends any employment relationship to be created either now or at any time in the future.

Equal Opportunities

The NHM is committed to equal opportunities and applications to volunteer are welcome from all individuals irrespective of disability, age, ethnic origin, religion or belief, gender, sexual orientation or marital status. As part of our Equal Opportunity policy the Museum monitors volunteer applications to ensure discrimination on all grounds does not occur. Please ensure you complete the Equal Opportunities monitoring form.


What do you need to apply for this role?

  • Be 18 years old and over.

  • Be friendly and approachable and enjoy talking to children and adults about butterflies and moths.

  • Have a passion for learning and talking about the natural world.

  • Be willing to be in a hot and humid environment for long periods of time which involves handling butterflies and moths.

  • An understanding about what makes an excellent visitor experience.

  • Be willing to be flexible and work effectively as part of a team.

  • Be physically fit to do some light gardening and comfortable standing up for prolonged periods in the Butterfly House conditions

  • Be available to volunteer at least 1 day during the week or weekend days for up to 6 months.

The closing date to apply for this volunteer opportunity is 9.00am on Monday 05 March 2018.

Our volunteer needs

We need volunteers who are free at these times


About the organisation

Natural History Museum

Chris Cavalier
Volunteers and Traineeships Manager
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