If you love astronomy, enjoy working with people–or both–we would love to work with you! Volunteers help in invaluable ways and create a welcoming atmosphere at the Frank N Bash Visitors Center, in addition to keeping a safe environment for all. Qualifications to become a volunteer include:

  • At least 18 years of age or older.
  • Interested to help observatory visitors and assist visitor center staff as needed.
  • Willing to answer questions or solve visitor problems in a friendly and engaging manner.
  • Accustomed to learning from and working with people of all types and opinions.
  • Able to keep an open and accessible attitude.
  • Live in, or regularly visit, the Fort Davis (or tri-county) area.
  • Complete the volunteer application.
  • Agree to and pass a criminal background check.
  • Able to complete initial volunteer training within 2 months of the application date.

McDonald Observatory welcomes members of the West Texas community who are cheerful, kind, helpful, empathetic, patient, service–oriented, and want to spend time in an astronomy-loving community. Volunteers work with other science-interested adults and will be trained on site during their first few visits.

Volunteer Application

Telescope Operator Volunteer Role Description 

Benefits of Being a Volunteer

The value of volunteer service is truly immeasurable to us. As a thank you, the Visitors Center extends the following benefits to volunteers:

  • Ten percent discount at the Gift Shop
  • Invitations to exclusive events 
  • Ongoing recognition
  • Access to staff knowledge

Plus, you may gain a few new skills, develop a friendship or two and of course have fun!

For further information about the McDonald Observatory volunteer program or assistance applying to be a volunteer, please contact Shannon Rudine at 432-426-3640.

The two large domes in the foreground house the 2.1-meter (82-inch) Otto Struve

McDonald Observatory Domes