Volunteers are vital to maintaining our history and museum. We are always looking to welcome new individuals to our museum family. If you have an interest in taking on a project listed below. Download our volunteer application and email it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Become a Volunteer Today
Volunteers in this position will be responsible for greeting visitors and handling gift shop sales at the CCHM’s welcome desk. They will also be responsible for ensuring visitors are not trying to handle any artifacts in the exhibits. That being said, we expect our docents to allow our visitors to self-guide themselves through our exhibit rooms, not walk them through the contents. This position does not require highly technical skills, other than handling gift shop sales for which training will be provided. This job is ideal for those who enjoy interacting with visitors and those with strong interpersonal and communication skills. This is one of our most needed volunteer positions and those who take the role of docent are expected to volunteer on a consistent and reliable weekly basis.
Volunteers in this position will house or rehouse photographs from the CCHM’s photograph collection in archival quality photographic sleeves. These photos will be placed in existing envelopes within our Personal/Family, Subject, and Streets/Addresses photographic collections or in new envelopes with the most logical identifier written on that envelope.
Volunteers in this position will take photographs from the CCHM’s Personal/Family, Subject, and Streets/Addresses photographic collections, scan them, and put them on our Flickr page. Photos will need to be organized in folders that are logically named and organized to improve access for viewers. Each photo will require proper metadata in the Flickr record so the provenance, inclusive dates, and other important data is available for viewers. This is a good job for those familiar with Flickr and interested in local photographs. It requires somebody who is comfortable working with a flatbed scanner and inputting metadata. It is also preferred that is done by somebody familiar with Champaign County history, particularly those who know buildings, families, and other places in Champaign, Urbana, and the county. This will help in adding good metadata for the images.
Transcribing interviews from cassette tapes
Volunteers in this position are responsible for transcribing interviews that are part of the CCHM’s audio cassette collection. These tapes contain interviews of varying length from different local figures and historians from Champaign County. Transcription will be done on a computer using Microsoft Word. This job is ideal for people with great attention to detail and listening skills. It is also ideal for those with experience transcribing interviews, oral history, or otherwise.
Organizing our flat files
Volunteers in this position will be responsible for accessing our onsite flat files collection and determining which records are research materials and which are artifacts for exhibits. Exhibit artifacts will be removed from the CCHM’s research library and placed in artifact storage. The remaining research materials will need to be organized in a logical manner in our flat file cabinets and the individual drawers labeled accordingly. Some items, particularly those that are very old and/or brittle, will need to be placed in mylar sleeves. Records that will be added to our Past Perfect catalog, such as maps, will need to be placed in map folders, labels created, and the record added to our catalog with the necessary metadata. This position is ideal for those with archives experience and those interested in finding a job in the archives industry. It requires analytical skills, technical skills, and the ability to handle oversized documents that may be brittle or easily damaged.
Organizing our vertical files
Volunteers in this position will be responsible for reorganizing and organizing our vertical file collection. This is a large collection of paper records from different organizations, events, and individuals related to Champaign County. Newspaper clippings need to be scanned on acid-free paper, paper ephemera placed between acid-free paper sheets and some items placed in archival quality plastic sleeves. Duplicates and excessively damaged records need to be separated from the collection. Existing folders need to be replaced with archival quality folders and labels are placed on each folder in a consistent manner with a title representative of the contents. If there is not an existing folder that fits the criteria of the record, a new one will be created using a logical title to describe the folder contents. Once the folders are completed, they need to be added to our Past Perfect catalog. This position is ideal for those with archives experience and those interested in finding a job in the archives industry. It requires analytical skills, technical skills, and the ability to handle a wide variety of paper documents, some of which are quite old and brittle.
Transcribing handwritten documents/journals/diaries
Volunteers in this position will be responsible for transcribing handwritten letters and other documents in the CCHM’s collection. These documents are predominantly from the 19th and 20th centuries and are written in cursive. Transcription will be done on a computer Microsoft Word. This job requires someone who can read cursive, particularly old cursive that can be very difficult to decipher. This position is ideal for those with great attention to detail and those interested in the personal correspondence of Champaign County residents throughout our county’s history.
Volunteers in this position will be responsible for photographing artifacts and other records held by the CCHM and placing those photos into our Past Perfect catalog. This position requires skill with a DSLR Camera and comfort with adding those images to our online catalog. It also requires patience and a steady hand for handling delicate, brittle, and/or historical materials from our collection. This position is ideal for those with experience and passion for photography and those interested in local historical artifacts.
Volunteers in this position will assist our Facilities Committee in fixing, repairing, constructing, and/or other hands-on activities at the museum that require the use of hand tools and power tools. You may be asked to paint, assist with plumbing, electrical work, and other general maintenance. Those with drywall, roofing, and historic preservation experience are particularly needed at this time.
Volunteers in this position will help run our popcorn wagon at events. The CCHM’s popcorn wagon is a historic vehicle that holds 2-3 people that we use to sell popcorn and other food and drinks at local events. Those in this position will help popping corn, bagging it, and preparing other food and drinks as necessary. They may also be asked to assist in interacting with customers and handle the exchange of money. This position has an irregular schedule and volunteers would be contacted as needed. Shift lengths vary but can last upwards of 4-5 hours.