Later this month, I will begin a part-time job at the Newseum as a Visitor Services Representative. I’m excited that I’ll be paid to spend time at this huge museum that I have visited, but whose half-dozen floors I have not explored in their entirety.

When I was most recently at the Newseum, which exhibit did I make sure to see? Why, the First Dogs exhibit, of course!

Out of all the presidential dogs featured at the Newseum, Gerald Ford's Liberty looks most like my Duncan.

The work will consist of visitor services duties, very similar to what I did at the Capitol for the past six months. In the Museum Education Program, we talked about museum educators along with curators, exhibit designers, conservators, registrars, directors, development teams and web teams… but what about visitor services? Where do museum education and visitors services overlap and diverge?

After a quick search for articles on the subject turned up nothing but pages of job postings asking that applicants have “experience in museum education or visitor services,” I turned to googlism. According to googlism, museum education is (among other things):

  • an important part of the role of museums
  • still rarely utilized
  • strongly dictated by certain trends in society
  • primarily concerned with meaningful interaction with objects
  • to stimulate further learning and enrichment experiences for its visitors

And visitor services is:

  • dedicated to creating a welcoming environment for you
  • to inspire a sense of appreciation and responsibility towards the built heritage
  • our frontline welcoming staff for the montana heritage commission
  • holistic
  • to promote and enhance the cultural

Far from sound research, these results are nonetheless interesting to me. What I am seeing, at least right now, is not different components in the missions of the two departments, but instead, just different emphases.

Here’s to creating a welcoming stimulating dedicated meaningful inspiring enriching interactive cultural learning environment!

Edited the next day: I also meant to mention that since this is a part-time job, Weekly Museum Visits will continue.

About Laura

Paralegal with Master of Arts in Teaching in Museum Education, frequent museum visitor, based in Washington, DC. I care about what museums can do, both in terms of public offerings and internal practices, to make the world a better place. I blog about museum education ("informed"), the social work of museums ("humane"), and visitor experience ("citizenry").
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2 Responses to Good NEWS

  1. M. Southwood says:

    Congratulations Laura. Love this museum!

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