Volunteer at the Herbarium - Curation and Digitization

***Due to construction, the herbarium will be closed until further notice.***

As a volunteer at the herbarium, you can help with the curation or digitization of our impressive plant collection.

Both of these activites take place at McGill's Macdonald campus in Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue. 



Curation is especially geared towards detail-oriented individuals who enjoy arts and crafts. We would provide you with a folder of plants that have already been pressed and dried. You would take the plants and carefully glue each one to its own sheet of acid-free paper. Every petal, petiole, and peduncle would need to be glued as flush against the page as possible to minimize the risk of plant parts accidentally being broken off. Specimens are then stored in the herbarium, which is kept relatively cool and dry so to preserve them for decades to come.

Additional curatorial tasks could include:

  • Accessioning - Stamp unique numbers onto new specimens
  • Annotating - Update specimen labels by cross-referencing species designations against a taxonomic database
  • Filing - Place specimens into a set of herbarium cabinets organized by plant family
  • Repairing - Mend broken specimens by gluing and fixing broken off plant parts back onto their sheets 

We would work together to figure out which set of tasks corresponds best to your skills and interests!


We're working to make our herbarium accessible to the world by digitizing our plant collection.

Volunteers can help with this task by photographing specimen sheets; we have everything set up for you at the herbarium workroom to do so. Effectively, you would:

  1. Take a set of specimens from the herbarium and bring them to the workroom across the hall
  2. Place one sheet at a time into our photography station
  3. Take a picture of the specimen with our digital camera
  4. Repeat until all sheets in the stack have been photographed

Images are automatically saved to our computers and uploaded to our server. Volunteers can then access these images to transcribe label information to our online database.

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