The Aga Khan Museum (AKM) is celebrating its fifth anniversary this year and, within such a short period, it has become a global hub for education, cultural connections, creativity and innovation. Located in the heart of Toronto (Canada), AKM offers each of its visitors the opportunity to enter and gain new insights into the rich world of the arts and culture of Islamic civilizations. With the mission of connecting cultures and building bridges, the Museum aims at changing minds and perceptions by positioning itself as a thought leader and an educator without walls.

Over the past five years, and even earlier as far back as 2010 during the planning stage of the Museum, TKN volunteers have been an invaluable resource and have played a critical role in helping shape the Museum to what it is today. From contributing to the planning of its construction to implementing new software and systems, the Museum would not be able to live up to its promise of being “A Museum Like No Other” without the dedication, passion and support of its more than 300 volunteers. Building a Museum from the ground up is no small feat! In 5 short years, AKM has managed to set itself apart as one of the global thought leaders in its area of expertise. Welcoming close to 150,000 visitors annually, this majestic building is surrounded by the tranquil gardens of the Aga Khan Park and shares the site with the Ismaili Centre Toronto. The site, as a whole, offers both the multifaceted dimensions of a modern world and also the peace and serenity that so many yearn for.

As one enters the AKM space, every corner and each experience is enhanced through the help of its cherished volunteers. Since the Museum’s inception, TKN volunteers have contributed their invaluable skills, knowledge and support across virtually every department. Today, these volunteers support the Museum floor as well as behind the scenes. They assist the Museum’s operations by offering rich and insightful tours of the exhibits and the architecture, greeting and welcoming visitors and assisting them in the Gift Shop, and supporting educational programs and family activities. Behind the scenes, they offer their time and expertise in areas such as Fundraising, Finance, Marketing & Communications, Facilities, and IT. The volunteers are also quick to make themselves available for any project that may require additional help.

Over the past five years, more than 50,000 volunteer hours have been dedicated to the Museum! As the Museum continues to grow and explores new ways of evolving, the need for such exemplary service is more important than ever. With the help of its volunteers, the Museum is able to provide an exceptional experience to visitors, and it also gains new insights and perspectives into what the Museum is doing and what it may be needing next. As the Museum is still in its infancy, the possibilities are endless both from, and for, the volunteers. The sense of meaning and fulfillment that this experience provides to each volunteer is felt from the inside out, extending far beyond the Museum’s walls. Thanks to this, the Museum has been able to reach beyond its goals and develop strong relationships with visitors from across the world – visitors who rave about the Museum and the warm welcome they receive, which makes them want to come back repeatedly.

Museum stakeholders from outside the Ismaili community are amazed by the volunteers and see them as a truly unique gift for the development and betterment of the Aga Khan Museum. Not only is it remarkable to see such a dedicated group of individuals give so much of their time and knowledge to the institution, but the level of humble service, passion and commitment is truly exceptional. The Museum looks forward to nurturing this wonderful partnership of hope and growth between the Museum, its volunteers and its visitors for many more years to come.