University of Alabama Museums

Become a Student Member

UA Museums Student Members volunteering during Get on Board Day.
UA Museums Student Members volunteering during Get on Board Day.

All current UA undergraduate and graduate students are eligible for a free student membership to the University of Alabama Museums, which includes:

How to Sign Up

To become a Student Member, fill out this quick and easy online form!

When you sign up for Student Membership, you will be added to an email database that will keep you informed on all of our free events!

Watch the video below to learn more about the perks of being a UA Museums Student Member!

Upcoming Events

Student Coffee Hours

Take a break from classes and grab a FREE hot beverage and FREE snacks on Tuesday, September 13 at 11 AM until 12 PM at the Alabama Museum of Natural History‘s Grand Gallery (where the Basilosaurus is on display), located inside Smith Hall.

The Marble Bowl

Help the Alabama Museum of Natural History beat the Auburn University Museum of Natural History in nature observations! From September 3 through the weekend of the Iron Bowl, everyone can participate in the Marble Bowl by submitting observations of wild plants, animals and fungi to one of two projects on the iNaturalist platform. This online site stores crowdsourced, public observations of biological organisms. Listed below are the necessary steps to participate.

  1. Visit inaturalist.org and sign up for a free account. There is also a mobile application for smart devices through Google Play and the App Store.
  2. Follow the “The Marble Bowl” project to keep up with the current score.
  3. To document an observation, you may shoot photos of wild organisms with your cell phone or camera.
    • Because cell phone photographs are automatically timestamped and geotagged, all of the necessary information is already with the photograph when you upload it. If you prefer to take photos with a digital camera, be sure to note the location and include it with your observation if the camera doesn’t geotag it for you.
  4. Observations may be uploaded to iNaturalist through a web browser or the app. As you submit observations, the platform’s artificial intelligence will suggest an identification based off what is in the photo along with similar species that have already been observed nearby. You are allowed to suggest a different identification if you’re confident about what you saw. Select your species, and then submit your citizen science observation.

Some Ground Rules

To make sure that the contest is fair and remains competitive, there are a list of rules to follow.

  1. Winner – The winner of this competition will be the project that has the highest score out of 100 points. This total will be calculated from a combination of unique observers (40 percent of total score), unique observations (30 percent) and unique species (30 percent), as determined by the iNaturalist platform. For example, if the Alabama project has 1,000 unique observers and the Auburn project has 900, Alabama gets the full 40 points while Auburn earns 36.
  2. Location – Observations must occur within the state of Alabama.
  3. Date and time – Observations must occur between kickoff weekend (Midnight Saturday, September 3) and the end of Iron Bowl weekend (11:59 p.m. Sunday, November 27). No photographs taken before this time can be used.
  4. No captive/cultivated observations – As much as people may love their pets, they aren’t suitable subjects for iNaturalist observations. The goal of this project is to record observations of wild plants, animals, fungi and other organisms across the state. Pets–along with other domesticated animals like horses, chickens and goats–should not be added to the project. Observations of cultivated plants are not allowed either.
  5. Quality grade – To be counted in the competition, observations must meet the criteria for Research Grade or Needs ID. Read about those classifications more on the iNaturalist website.

Have Questions?

If you have any questions or need to help with iNaturalist, contact Dr. John Friel (Director, Alabama Museum of Natural History) by emailing: jpfriel@ua.edu

Alabama Museum of Natural History Volunteer Opportunities

Volunteering at the Alabama Museum of Natural History is a great way to support the museum and its mission while gaining experience in program development and working with the public! Education volunteers will assist staff with school tours, K-12 programs, spring and fall museum events, summer camps, and day trips. If you’re interested, please contact Joyia Davis. Her email address is joyia.davis@ua.edu. You can also reach Joyia by calling 205-348-6383.
Fall 2022 Event Volunteer Opportunities:
  • September 21: Homeschool Days – Design Maker Workshop (2-3 volunteers, engineering students especially)
  • September 19: Museum Monday – Minerals Rock, a program on rocks and minerals (1-2 volunteers)
  • November 4: Growing Up Wild – Topic TBD (1-2 volunteers)
  • November 19: Museum Monday – Topic TBD (1-2 volunteers)
  • December 7: Homeschool Days – Design Maker Workshop (2-3 volunteers, engineering students especially)

Design Maker Workshop

UA Student Volunteers are needed to co-facilitate a STEM design challenge for home school students aged 8-18 on September 7, September 21, or December 7 at 11:00AM. For more information, email Joyia Davis at joyia.davis@ua.edu

School and Group Tours

The museum offers guided tours to adult and student groups. No prior experience is needed. Training will be conducted by a museum educator.

K-12 Programs

Volunteers will assist staff with Spring and Fall K-12 programming. Programs are offered monthly, and help is needed with preparation and assisting on the program day.

Museum Events

Throughout the year, the museum hosts special events which require assistance during the week, weekends, and evenings. These events include Fossil Day, Haunting at the Museum, Bug Fest, and Darwin Day.

Summer Camps and Day Trips

The museum offers one week summer camps for K-8 and fossil day trips for the public. Volunteers who wish to help with these events must serve as a volunteer for a short period before working a summer camp or attending a day trip. Background checks are required.

Research and Collections Paid Opportunity

UA Museum’s Department of Research and Collections is looking for a crew of people to help with vegetation data collection in one of the coolest places in the world!  We are in partnership with the Student Conservation Association and want to hire a crew and crew leader to serve from mid May until mid November.  This could be the best summer and fall ever for the right group of people.  The position number and brief description is listed below. 
Position # PO-00733061
Participants will work with some of the world’s top evolutionary biologists to conduct a detailed census of trees in one of North America’s richest forests in the Paint Rock River Valley. The census protocol, developed in coordination with Smithsonian Institute by UCLA distinguished professor Stephen Hubbell and Chicago Field Museum’s Rick Condit, in essence creates a massive outdoor laboratory over 150 acres where the lives and fates of each tree can be followed for 50 years. Every stem bigger than a pencil is precisely geolocated, identified, measured, tagged and mapped — some 75,000 shrubs and trees in all, then re-censused every 4 to 5 years. Data derived from this census will provide important new insights into how forests assemble, why rich forests have so many rare species, how forests will survive, and how forests mitigate and are affected by climate change and human impacts. It will be the largest and most biologically rich forest dynamics plot in North America when completed.

Teams of two to three students each will work in tandem to census the plot one quadrat at a time — each quadrat being about the size of a typical house lot. Sophisticated rangefinders will be combined with tried and true survey methods to determine the location of each tree, which will be measured, numbered and tentatively identified by species. Computer data entry will be done on days when field work is not appropriate. Training all be done by Condit, Hubbell and census veterans. There will be multiple opportunities to interact with top scientists from multiple universities doing research on the site — including UCLA, universities in Alabama and Georgia, Clemson, Yale and Maine. In September, a special symposium of top scientists will feature the work done on the plot, and students will be invited to participate free of charge. Comfortable on-campus housing will be made available to students a short walk from where the research plot is located.

The work is sometimes meticulous, but rewarding and often breathtaking, and the unusual mature forests of Paint Rock give students an opportunity to experience a forest and nature in a way few others can. The Paint Rock Valley sits in the center of deciduous forest diversity and cave diversity in North America, and the Paint Rock River is a global hotspot for aquatic diversity.

Living Allowance $400 per week
Relocation Travel Allowance $1,100 (one-time)
Apply now through SCA!
Email Bill Finch (bill@finchconservation.net) with questions.

Moundville Archaeological Park Volunteer Opportunities

Moundville Archaeological Park needs volunteers for their annual Native American Festival, which will be held on October 12-15, 2022. To volunteer, fill out this online form.

Bryant Museum Volunteer Opportunities

The Paul W. Bryant Museum is looking for volunteers during home football games to give directions and answer general University of Alabama and Gameday questions.

If you’re interested, please contact Olivia Arnold. Her email is oarnold@ua.edu and you can reach her by calling 205-348-4668.

The Gorgas House Museum Volunteer Opportunities

The Gorgas House Museum needs student volunteers to help with museum tours, research, and events! For the Fall of 2022, The Gorgas House Museum invites UA students to be involved in Haunting at the Museum (October 24-28, 2022) with giving tours and telling spooky stories.

For more information on how to get involved, email Brandon Thompson at brandon.s.thompson@ua.edu

Content Creation Opportunities

Email brandon.s.thompson@ua.edu for UA Museums TikTok opportunities!
UA Students can help out with the UA Museums TikTok!

Do you like creating content for TikTok and social media and need video to add to a demo reel or portfolio? University of Alabama Students have opportunities to create content for and run the UA Museums TikTok account!

For more information on how to get involved, email Brandon Thompson at brandon.s.thompson@ua.edu

Social Media / Website Management Opportunities

Are you interested in social media and website management? We have internship opportunities for UA Students to help out with UA Museums’ social media accounts (on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, and YouTube) and websites! It’s a great chance for students interested in Marketing, Public Relations, Advertising, and Graphic Design to get real world experience and portfolio examples.

For more information on how to get involved, email Rebecca Johnson at rljohnson8@ua.edu

Video Shooting and Editing Opportunities

UA Museums creates and releases video content on our YouTube channel about exhibits, events, and stories about what we do! Do you have video editing experience or would like to learn how to do it? Or, would you want to help shoot interviews or b-roll footage? UA Museums needs a video editing assistant intern and will provide opportunities to develop video editing skills that can be added to a demo reel!

For more information on how to get involved, email Rebecca Johnson at rljohnson8@ua.edu

Have Questions?

For more information, email James Scott: jiscott@ua.edu

You can also follow and keep up with UA Museums on TikTok, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.