Give the gift of your time – become a Morikami volunteer! Morikami volunteers fill a variety of positions on a weekly basis as well as at each of three annual festivals. Positions require the ability to communicate well and interact easily with people, and the desire to work in accordance with the mission statement of Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens. Training and a volunteer orientation are required for most positions.
“Those who can, do. Those who can do more, volunteer.” ~Author Unknown
Volunteers fill a variety of roles to support the day-to-day operations of the museum and gardens. Read on to find out about open volunteer opportunities.
Now Recruiting Docents!
We are actively seeking new docent educators for our year-round docent volunteer program. Docents help educate the public about the history and wonders of Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens.
What is a Docent? A docent is a knowledgeable guide who leads visitors throughout Morikami, providing historical background about the museum and gardens, as well as answering questions about the museum and delivering commentary on the exhibitions and gardens.
Worried you don’t know enough about Japanese culture, art and gardens? Not a problem! Docents complete approximately 45 hours of training that consists of education sessions about our exhibitions and gardens (in person and online), and all docents-in-training shadow current docents during their weekly tours. Docents meet once a month on Mondays.
- A love of Japanese art and culture and a strong interest in Morikami Museum & Japanese Gardens
- Excellent interpersonal skills, including the ability to effectively communicate with small and large groups of varying ages and backgrounds
- Desire to work with others as part of a team
- Reliability, enthusiasm and commitment
- Ability to commit to one day a week (Tuesday-Friday; in addition to monthly Monday docent meetings)
- Ongoing participation in “The Way of the Docent” program including studies in local history, Japanese tea ceremony, gardens, and Morikami’s changing gallery exhibits
- Access to Museum galleries and gardens
- 20% Discount on Museum store, 30% during Members Appreciation Weekends
- 10% Discount at the Cornell Café
- Discount on museum memberships purchased at the Dual level or higher
Other Available Positions:
- Summer Tour Plus!: Each year Morikami Museum presents Summer Tour Plus, a program for K-12 student groups that includes docent-led tours through the galleries and fun cultural activities. High school volunteers assist staff and interns with craft projects to create an educational and entertaining environment for summer campers and student groups.
- Bonsai: Help preserve and protect our bonsai collection. This position requires standing for long periods of time and is outdoors year round. Experience with Bonsai is preferred. This shift is every Friday morning from 8am to 12pm.
- Membership Desk Assistant: Works from 11am-3pm, Saturday or Sunday. You will work with our weekend Membership Associate to assist at the desk. You need to be able to learn our computer database to sell memberships, check-in current members and give the Membership Associates breaks. This position reports to the Manager of Membership and Development.
- Museum Store: You will be assisting customers in the store; re-arranging and re-stocking items; wrapping and bagging items bought by visitors. You will learn about items available in the store. The ability to bend and retrieve items from cabinets below displayed items and extended periods of standing are necessary. You will not be handling the cash register or money. This position reports to the Museum Store Manager. Shift currently available is Saturday 1:30pm to 5pm.
- Museum Greeter: You provide a warm and friendly welcome to patrons of the museum; distribute the Visitor’s Guide and explain what they will encounter during their visit, and assist in informing the public about museum policies. (Docent led tours are given to all volunteers after each exhibit change to help familiarize you with the new exhibit.) Some greeters will be asked to sell fish food to visitors so that they may feed Koi in the garden lakes and pond.
- Office: Assist staff members with answering phones, filing, mailing, assembling packets, and data entry. Basic computer skills are necessary. Shifts are available Tuesday through Friday between 10am and 5pm for a minimum of three and a half hours.
- Yamato-kan Greeter: The greeters welcome visitors to the Yamato-kan. Located in the garden, the building houses a hands-on exhibit that provides the history of the Yamato Colony and George Morikami. You will welcome guests and school groups and explain what they will see there, as well as provide general information about museum exhibits and activities. Also, sell fish food to visitors so they may feed Koi fish in the garden lakes and pond.
To volunteer on a weekly basis, an initial interview is required. Please email email@example.com to schedule an interview.
Special Event Volunteers
Volunteers provide invaluable support at each of our three annual festivals. Positions require the ability to communicate well and interact easily with people and the desire to work in accordance with the mission statement of Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens. Attending training and a volunteer orientation are required.
Saturday October 19, 2019
VOLUNTEER SHIFTS | 2:15 pm – 8:30 pm
This iconic local festival is inspired by Japan’s traditional three-day Obon holiday honoring ancestors, and includes a breathtaking lantern floating ceremony, taiko drum performances, fireworks display, Japanese folk dancing and more. In addition, Morikami’s lively street celebration, the ennichi street fair, will feature games and crafts for all ages, traditional Japanese festival foods and shopping. A number of volunteer positions are available.
Sushi & Stroll
May – September
Sushi and Stroll is a summer walk special event series hosted by The Morikami from May through September. On the 2nd Friday of every month the museum opens at a discounted admission for people to enjoy the gardens at sunset. This is a unique opportunity that many people take advantage of to explore the gardens, savor cuisine from the Cornell Café and sample craft sake.
Work at Family Fun Days on select Saturdays and Sundays, and assist with projects like origami and kamishibai (Japanese story-telling), or help at our exhibit openings. These positions are available throughout the year.
Also, just for Students, we recruit high school and college students for Summer Tour Plus each summer. Volunteers help prepare materials needed for activities for visiting student groups and work with children as they learn games and create projects. This program is offered Tuesday through Friday, beginning in June and ending in August. The shift is from 9:30am – 1:00pm. We look for students who can volunteer throughout the summer.
We welcome corporate groups to volunteer during any of our three annual festivals. This is a great team building exercise for employees that also gives back to our community. In return for providing support for our festivals, companies can enjoy many advantages including complimentary festival flex passes to any one of our Sushi & Stroll Summer Walks and, most importantly, visibility. Our festivals wouldn’t be as successful without the support of our volunteers!