The word “science” probably brings to mind many of our historic big thinkers: Albert Einstein and his frizzy white hair; Charles Darwin and his detailed sketches of finches; Stephen Hawking and chalkboards full of mathematic equations; or perhaps Thomas Edison with his electric lightbulb in hand.

Science is a shared experience of experimentation, with countless twists and turns, and of discovery. Many scientists are motivated by the thrill of chasing eureka or ‘aha’ moments – that sudden flash of understanding, when the synapses between rapidly firing neurons in your brain connect and a seemingly unsolvable puzzle finally makes sense. It’s addictive and infectious. But just as important are the people who enable and support this work: the scientific community.

At the Australian Museum our mission is to inspire exploration, understanding and care for the world. In particular, the fast-approaching Australian Museum Science Festival (AMSF) is an opportunity to teach younger generations to look at our world through scientific eyes: to be observant, zealous and inquisitive. The AMSF is a two week bonanza of interactive educational experiences for students, which will run from 13-26 August this year.

An AMSF volunteer prepares Museum specimens for display at the 2015 festival.
An AMSF volunteer prepares Museum specimens for display at the 2015 festival. Image: Australian Museum
© Australian Museum

During the AMSF, a sea of children (and their equally excited teachers and parents) descend on the Museum where they can participate in electrifying workshops and ask big questions of the experts featured at the science expo. Orchestrated by the Museum’s superhuman Science Events and Engagement team (there’s only four of them!), it’s an energetic whirlwind of immersive learning – that you too can get swept up in.

The AMSF is run with the help of many wonderful volunteers who share a passion for passing on the science bug. Last year, over 80 volunteers joined the AMSF team, donning bright yellow t-shirts to match their sunny smiles. It’s great to see some of our volunteers coming back for more each year – but we always welcome more hands on deck. The AMSF is growing and we’re expecting over 6000 kids this year!

The AMSF team is seeking enthusiastic and outgoing science lovers to help our future scientists enjoy an eye opening experience at the Australian Museum. Returning volunteers, like Gina Pinget, heartily encourage others to get involved in the festival.

“It made me hungry to learn more, and to know that you are a part of feeding this same desire [to learn] in the next generation, to watch the wonder and delight in their eyes, was a very rewarding experience. I felt so excited to see the beginnings of our next top scientists!” Gina says.

Volunteering with the AMSF team might see you directing school groups to their next show (which you can then watch yourself) and guiding students through the festival’s immersive exhibition spaces. If you’re willing, you might get to hold a live snake on display or assist our presenters with hands-on scientific demonstrations. You’ll certainly learn a lot yourself, whether it be from our wise presenters or surprisingly knowledgeable kids, or by gaining valuable experience in the museum and events management industries.

Clare Watson, AMRI Education Volunteer