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[JOB] Visitor Assistant, Queens Museum of Art

Visitor Assistant
Queens Museum of Art
(Queens NY)

About the Queens Museum
The Queens Museum is dedicated to presenting the highest quality visual arts and educational programming for people in the New York metropolitan area, and particularly for the residents of Queens, a uniquely diverse ethnic, cultural and international community. The Museum fulfills its mission by designing and providing art exhibitions and educational experiences that promote the appreciation and enjoyment of art, support the creative efforts of artists, and enhance the quality of life through interpreting, collecting, and exhibiting art, architecture, and design.In November 2013, the Queens Museum will complete an expansion that will double its size to a grand total of 105,000 square feet. The expansion will provide an additional 50,000 square feet of space, including a suite of new galleries, artist studios, flexible public and special event spaces, education classrooms, a café, back-of-house facilities, and visitor amenities. This light-filled new space, designed by world-renowned Grimshaw Architects, exemplifies the museum’s commitment to openness, inclusion, community partnership and the diverse communities we serve.

About the Position: Visitor Assistants
The visitor experience program is part of an initiative to enhance the personal experiences and connections visitors have with the Queens Museum’s wide array of exhibitions, projects and programs. Visitor Assistants serve as advocates for the visitor while promoting the safety of the museum; communicating consistently with visitors to ensure a positive museum experience. Visitor Assistants will be stationed and rotated throughout the Queens Museum’s galleries and project spaces and are responsible for interacting with the general public and safeguarding our exhibitions.

These flexible part-time positions are excellent preparation and introductions to careers in arts and culture. Visitor Assistants will participate in an ongoing rigorous training and professional development program led by accomplished museum, cultural and educational professionals as part of a team of talented arts and museum educators.

Primary Responsibilities:

Education and interpretation
Visitor Assistants are responsible for projecting an attitude of openness and access to all visitors in the galleries. While stationed in the galleries, Visitor Assistants will use a variety of strategies (e.g. verbal, touch objects, prompts, multi-sensory, hunt cards , games, mobile devices) to inquire about visitor needs, interests and questions and use specialized knowledge about the museum and our exhibitions to deepen and enhance visitor connection, engagement and understanding of the museum’s exhibitions and projects. Specifically, these responsibilities include but are not limited to:

• Actively participating in a required paid ongoing Visitor Assistant professional development program covering exhibition content, visitor engagement strategies, customer service and security.
• Entering into natural conversations with visitors regarding exhibitions, encouraging and inviting authentic visitor feedback and response to exhibitions.
• Answering questions and providing contextual information about the exhibits and the Queens Museum.
• Using discretion, approaching/engaging visitors as appropriate, respecting boundaries and personal space, thoughtfully monitoring body language and facial expression, always communicating in a respectful and professional manner.
• Directing visitors to and explaining interpretative materials as appropriate to  visitor interest (e.g. wall text, labels, brochures, video, audio media).
• Directing visitors to other exhibitions throughout the museum as relevant to visitor interests (promoting connections and linkages).
• Directing visitors to relevant educational resources (e.g. books in our gift shop, print brochures, reading rooms, online resources on tablet computers, local library branches and community organizations).
• Directing visitors and encouraging participation in self-guided activity stations and/or interactive exhibitions and projects throughout the museum.
• Ensure that guests of varying needs and abilities all have proper access to exhibitions and the museum as a whole.
• Periodically collaborating with resident artists and promoting visitor participation on short-term artist projects in the galleries.
• Dreaming up and proposing new, experimental and nontraditional strategies to promote visitor engagement in the museum.
• Periodically collecting data and participating in action research on visitor engagement to support the museum’s general research and audience analysis efforts (e.g. counting, periodic surveys, behavioral observation).

Gallery safety and security
The Queens Museum, like many other museums, is responsible for preserving art and historical objects for future generations and simultaneously making those objects as accessible as possible to the public to learn from and interact with. Carefully balancing those priorities, Visitor Assistants will work closely with the Visitor Experience Manager and our security staff to:

• Be knowledgeable of and ensure that visitors comply with museum policies regarding exhibitions and safety in the galleries (e.g. photography, materials, touching, proximity to fragile objects).
• Communicate those policies in a direct, friendly and respectful manner (e.g. using positive language, providing explanations, redirecting visitors etc.).
• Monitor the flow of traffic to provide a smooth flow of visitation.
• Monitor visitors to ensure that all guests who enter the galleries have checked in at our admissions desks.
• Serve as “eyes and ears” on the gallery floors, monitoring and proactively communicating with security staff regarding potential safety issues or hazards.
• Monitors the gallery space and reports on any incidents or issues.

Customer service
• Respond to general visitor inquiries about the museum, (e.g. location of amenities gift shop, café, visiting hours, directions).
• Direct traffic in the museum, help visitors find and locate exhibitions that may not be readily obvious.
• Look to pro-actively help/assist visitors as necessary.
• Inform visitors about public events and programs happening at the museum and offsite community programs and events as appropriate/relevant;
• Assist in maintaining the inventory of museum brochures and literature throughout the galleries.
• Work with visitor experience manager and maintenance staff to monitor cleanliness and presentation of gallery spaces throughout the museum.
• Visitor assistants will also staff the front desk: greeting and orienting visitors to the museum, operating our ticketing system and ensuring a smooth and positive initial museum experience.

Perform other duties as directed by management.

We seek reliable, empathetic, outgoing, creative and intellectually curious individuals to serve as Visitor Assistants in our galleries. Successful visitor assistants will have:

• Friendly and outgoing, able to conduct oneself in a polite and professional manner in a variety of situations.
• Strong interpersonal and communication skills
• Ability to assert oneself when needed in order to enforce policies and protect artwork.
• Experience working in a fast-paced environment.
• Ability to use good judgment and to respond in handling crowds and waiting lines; remain calm and present a professional demeanor.
• Willingness to learn about and open-mindedness about art and historical exhibitions at the museum.

Desired qualifications/requirements:

• High school diploma required, some college a strong plus
• Demonstrated knowledge, interest and experience with arts, cultural, historical exhibitions/organizations a strong plus
• Experience in one or more of the following areas a strong plus:
o education/teaching;
o hospitality;
o security;
o retail;
o customer service;
• Second language skills a major plus (particularly Spanish, Mandarin, Korean speakers).
• Existing familiarity with the Queens Museum is a strong plus. Former or current participants in/from Queens Museum public, community or education programs are strongly encouraged to apply.

Please note that this work will require standing for long periods of time, adherence to dress code and museum policies.  Visitor Services Assistants will work a set schedule during weekdays, weekends and potentially some holiday hours.

• $10/hr, 15-20 hours a week with the possibility of additional special event shifts based on seniority and performance

Interested candidates should send a letter of interest and a current resume to’; and

Resumes will be accepted for this position on an ongoing basis.  Selected candidates will be contacted as positions become available.