Our volunteers are the heart, soul and backbone of Sydney Living Museums – without their support, enthusiasm and energy, we couldn't do the work we do.

With 12 very different museums, along with gardens, collections and a huge and diverse program of exhibitions, events and special projects, there is always plenty to do, experience and learn, no matter what your interests and skills. Whether you can make a regular weekly commitment or prefer to help out every now and again, we welcome and value your involvement.

To find out about current volunteering opportunities, please visit our current opportunities page.


I applied to be a volunteer guide just 5 years ago. My motives then were a love of history and an enthusiasm for meeting and communicating with a wide variety of people ...

Janet Whitten, speaker program volunteer


Our volunteers tell us that being a volunteer brings many benefits and that they gain as much from helping us as we gain from their help. Volunteering provides opportunities to develop and share knowledge, practical skills, talents and friendships. Many of our volunteers call us ‘their other home’.

In appreciation of the contributions our volunteers make, each volunteer receives:

  • free entry to all SLM museums & properties for the volunteer and up to 2 adult and 2 children guests
  • 3 guest passes to our museums per year (for guests unaccompanied by the volunteer)
  • discounts to specified events from the Sydney Living Museums Events program
  • subscription to our magazine Insites and quarterly Events calendar
  • volunteers newsletter invitations to social outings, tours, talks and parties
  • 20% discount on merchandise at all Sydney Living Museums shops
  • 10% discount at selected Sydney Living Museums cafes.

Volunteer roles

We offer a diverse mix of opportunities and roles for volunteers, which draw on a diverse range of skills and qualities. However, these roles can be grouped into four main types: guiding, public speaking, supporting events and special projects. We also recruit a group of volunteers for Sydney Open as a separate process every two years.


Our volunteer guides are our frontline storytellers and hosts. They welcome and guide visitors around our properties, sharing our stories with them and encouraging them to share their stories with us. It’s a role that requires direct contact with the public and suits people who are good talkers and listeners, and who feel comfortable and at ease with a wide range of people.

Volunteer wearing identification badge in Rose Seidler House with crowds.
Volunteer at Fifties Fair. Photo © Hamilton Lund

Speaker program volunteers

Speaker program volunteers are our community ambassadors, speaking to a range of community groups such as Probus and View Clubs. In this role, volunteers help to raise awareness of our museums, exhibitions, research and projects, and the importance of cultural heritage more generally in NSW. Speaker program guides need to be confident public speakers and comfortable mixing with people

For the last seven years I have felt privileged to be involved with this unique part of Australian history, which I now call my ‘other home’

Anne Watson, speaker program volunteer


Event volunteers help us with a wide range of programs, events, tours and talks, such as the Fifties Fair, Vintage Sunday series and Artisan Christmas Market. The amount of time required and the type of help needed varies depending on the nature and location of each event. So in this role, you need to be flexible, enjoy working with a variety of people of different ages and backgrounds, and be ready to step in and help wherever needed.


Project volunteers work behind the scenes in one of our specialist departments, such as Design, Marketing or the Caroline Simpson Library & Research Collection. Volunteering on these projects provides opportunities to work alongside our staff and use or develop skills in a diverse range of areas, such as exhibition and archival research, administration, gardening, writing, embroidery and conservation.

Woman in white standing with two other women at dining table assisting two seated women with threads.
Curator Joanna Nicholas with members of the Soft Furnishings Volunteers Group working at the dining room table, Elizabeth Bay House. Photo © Haley Richardson and Stuart Miller for Sydney Living Museums


Held every second year over a weekend in November, Sydney Open sees Sydney throw open the doors of many of its award-winning contemporary and much-loved heritage buildings so they can be enjoyed and explored by thousands of visitors.

Sydney Open’s success depends on the generous support of hundreds of enthusiastic volunteers, who help on the day or in the months leading up to the event. We recruit our Sydney Open volunteers in a separate process, usually about 6 months out from the event. The next Sydney Open will be held in November 2014. You can now register your interest in being notified when volunteer roles are being offered for Sydney Open.

Woman in pink volunteer's t-shirt with arms outstretched, showing visitor interior of cathedral.
Volunteer with visitor at St Andrews Cathedral. Sydney Open. Photo © James Horan for Sydney Living Museums


Volunteer opportunities become available as they are needed to support particular teams and programs at Sydney Living Museums. These positions are advertised on our Current volunteering opportunities page.

For each volunteer role that is open we provide a Role Description which lists the specific skills and experience we are looking for. Applicants are asked to submit an application form for that role and a CV, and if shortlisted will be invited to attend an interview.

Please note that we are only able to accept volunteer applications when a volunteer role is currently being advertised. Regrettably we are unable to take on new volunteers in response to individual requests. However we would love to let you know when new volunteer roles become available so please register to be notified.