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Museum Trainee/ “Volontariat”


If you are interested in working at a museum or a related organization in Germany, you might have come across the term “Volontariat.” This is not to be confused with the English term “volunteer,” much rather it is most comparable to a trainee or an apprenticeship. University graduates (M.A. or PhD) have the possibility to take on a two year trainee position, German “Volontariat,” during which they gain relevant work experience at a museum or a related organization. The position is paid and typically accompanied by workshops and specialized trainings, which enhance the learning experience.


If you are a recent university graduate, who would like to launch a museum career in Germany, doing a “Volontariat” is a promising point of departure.


Today most trainees focus on a specific field within the museum, such as collections, curation, education, public relations, or marketing. It is however desirable that each trainee receives a general overview over the different work fields within the organization he or she works in. Trainees can be pursued at a wide range of museums, at memorial sites, historical preservation offices, or elsewhere, depending on your interests and qualifications. Since most of these organizations are public entities, they are subject to very specific employment regulations. This results in the unfortunate situation, that in many cases a trainee does not transform into a permanent position. It will, however, improve the individual ability to compete on the job market.

There is no binding system as to how those trainee positions are being staffed. If there is a vacancy, the individual organization will typically promote it on the website of the German Museums Association, and specify the details and requirements concerning the position.

“Volontariat”-positions vary greatly in content and scope. The special interest group in the German Museums Association, “AK Volontariat” provides a platform for exchange of experiences and networking, but it also functions as a lobby for representation of current trainees. We assist current and future trainees with their questions and concerns. If needed, we also provide guidance and support when problems occur.

To learn more about our work, projects, events and goals, please consult our German website. You are also welcome to ask us questions via email: ak-volontariat[at]museumsbund.de.


The current “AK Volontariat”-team, which is newly elected every year at the national convention for “Volontär_innen,” introduces itself here.

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