Volunteer Opportunities

Becoming an OMCA volunteer is easy!

Volunteering at OMCA gives you a chance to get more involved with the museum you love. We are always recruiting enthusiastic volunteers to assist with school groups, events, office work, and more.

Volunteer Info Sessions are offered several times a year. During Info Sessions, we discuss the various types of volunteer opportunities available to you, as well as next steps for getting involved! 

If you are unable to make the Info Session, we suggest creating an account on our Shiftboard volunteer site. Once you have registered and your application has been approved, you will receive email notices of upcoming volunteer opportunities.

» Sign Up to Volunteer


Questions? Email us at volunteer@museumca.org.

No phone calls, please.

If you are interested in an internship at OMCA, please email your resume and cover letter to internships@museumca.org.

Become an OMCA Ambassador today and share the museum you love, make new friends, and give back in Oakland. Photo: Terry Lorant

OMCA Ambassadors help promote OMCA's mission by providing a friendly, welcoming face to all visitors. Through training sessions, events, and new friendships, they develop a rewarding personal relationship with the Museum.

To participate, please register on our Shiftboard page.

What are the benefits of becoming an Ambassador at OMCA?

Besides feeling great about giving back, helping others, and supporting a museum you love, volunteers also get these more tangible benefits during the course of their volunteer commitment:

  • Free admission to the Museum and special exhibitions.
  • Special curator tours of new exhibitions and other informative and fun training sessions.
  • Invitation to the White Elephant Sale staff shopping days.
  • Special 10% discount in the OMCA Store; 15% discount in the Café on the day of your shift.

An OMCA Ambassador will be expected to:

  • Move throughout the Museum being welcoming, helpful, and friendly to all visitors in the Museum, including visitors of various ages and ethnicities.
  • Stay knowledgeable of current Museum exhibitions and events, and be able to connect visitors to information they are seeking.
  • Direct visitors to ticketing, galleries, OMCA Store, Museum Café, and other amenities within the Museum as needed.
  • Enjoy offering general information about OMCA, the renovation, and its collection to guests to enhance their visit.
  • Consider joining the Museum as a member so you can enhance your participation even more with a free subscription to our magazine, invitations to exhibition openings and member hours, and more.

Minimum Commitment:

Two shifts per month, for six months. Weekly shifts encouraged.


  • Ability to move around the Museum comfortably for up to three hours at a time.
  • Skilled with interacting with the public, maintaining a courteous manner at all times,
  • Attend required training session prior to volunteering, and attend follow-up training sessions as required.
  • Ability to adhere to best practices, as set forth in the Volunteer Handbook.
  • Speak fluent English; fluency in other languages a plus!
  • Access to email and a computer (All scheduling done online; computer training is available at the Oakland Public Library)
  • Maintain a neat personal appearance and adhere to the preferred dress code.

Interested? To participate, please register at Shiftboard. You will receive emails for our next training/information session.

No phone calls, please.

Become an Exhibit Guide

Experience the excitement of touring school groups with just a two to three month commitment. Meet new people with similar interests and become part of our museum family.

Exhibit Guides are trained in a specific special exhibition or part of a gallery, including Days of the Dead, Gold Rush, or California Indians. Trainings are held periodically throughout the year depending on our need for guides.

Trainings last four to six weeks. After successful completion, guides commit to touring school groups Wednesdays through Fridays, once a week, for two to three months.

Interested in knowing more?
If you would like to be added to our mailing list to be notified when new training sessions are offered, please send us your name, email and mailing address to docentcenter@museumca.org. For more information on these opportunities, please contact the Docent Center or call us at 510-318-8470.


Join OMCA's 250 Docents—volunteers in the Art, History, and Natural Sciences Galleries—who help visitors of all ages enjoy and appreciate California's natural wonders and cultural riches.

Experience the excitement that comes from a continuing education experience of field trips, lectures, and hands-on trainings. Make new friends with people who have similar interests, and become part of a great institution. Most of all, help to ignite a spark in a young person's imagination and experience the excitement of inspiring visitors to make discoveries that bring new insights about life in our great state. Art, History, and Natural Sciences Docent training is offered on a rotating basis every few years.


The Docent training program runs for approximately one year. Once you graduate from the training program, the commitment is for two shifts every month for two years. 

No experience is necessary—just enthusiasm for learning about what California offers and an eagerness to share your passion. After completing training, you will be ready to give tours in the galleries and special exhibitions, helping our visitors make exciting discoveries about California's art, history, and natural environment.

Docents and Exhibit Guides need to be able to move around the Museum comfortably for 3 hours at a time, have access to email and a computer, and have a love of sharing your enthusiasm with museum visitors.

Get more information!
For an application or for more information about joining our Docent corps, please call 510-318-8470, Fax: 510-318-8413, or e-mail docentcenter@museumca.org

No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man In Gallery Volunteer Position Description

About the Role:
OMCA is seeking volunteers to support the Gift-o-Matic experience. The exhibition will be open until February 16, 2020 at the Oakland Museum of California.  

Purpose of the Volunteer Role: No Spectators volunteers will help connect Museum visitors to the art in the exhibit by way of the 10 Principles of Burning Man:

  • Radical Inclusion
  • Gifting
  • Decommodification
  • Radical Self-reliance
  • Radical Self-expression
  • Communal Effort
  • Civic Responsibility
  • Leaving No Trace
  • Participation
  • Immediacy

Key Responsibilities:

  • Assist visitors in gift creation, using pre-tested instructions and supplies
  • Answer questions about Burning Man and the Gifting Principle
  • Work with Gallery Guides and Museum Security to maintain a clean and safe workshop environment
  • Check and load gifts into the Gift-o-Matic machine


  • Volunteers must have experience attending Burning Man as a participant or volunteer for 2 years or more 
  • Must be fluent in the Principle of Gifting and Maker Culture
  • Must be local to the Bay Area or visiting during the exhibition (we’re sorry but we are unable to assist with relocation for this position) 
  • Must be comfortable climbing ladders
  • Must enjoy working with large groups of children and adults
  • Must be able to lift 10-15lbs

Length of the Exhibition: Volunteer shifts will be available throughout the run of the exhibition which will be open Wednesday-Sunday through February 16, 2020. Gift-o-matic volunteers are especially desired for Friday nights and weekend days, and occasional special events.

Museum Location: 1000 Oak Street, Oakland, CA 94607. Art Department

Volunteers Report to: Renée LeVesque, Associate Experience Developer

How to Apply:

  • Complete this form. Please be prepared to give us your name and email address. Please also be prepared to answer questions about your experience as a Maker and problem solver.
  • If your submission is approved we will contact you for a phone interview.
  • Applicants who are approved for volunteer shifts will be asked to consent to a background check. This consent form will be sent to you via email.
  • Applicants who are approved for volunteer shifts will be asked to sign a liability waiver.

» apply

About OMCA
Please see our website for information about our history, our goals, who we are and what we do: http://museumca.org/about-omca

The Oakland Museum of California is dedicated to diversity, inclusion, accessibility and equity. We are an equal opportunity employer and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to age, race, color, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, ability/disability status, protected veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law. We highly encourage our diverse community to apply for available employment, internship, fellowship and volunteer positions at the Museum, as we aim to ensure our staff reflects the diversity of our visitors and our surrounding community.