One of the things I would say to people who ask what it’s like to be a Visitor Services Assistant at the National Museum of Scotland is that it’s an experience. No two days are the same and the best way to find out what it’s like is to take a walk through the galleries and see what’s going on. This in mind, I took myself (and a camera) and went for a walk through to show you what the typical day is like for myself and my fellow Vistor Services Assistants, tasked with making sure our visitors get a 5-star experience!
I started out at the Information Desk, where Jonny and Jenny were busy manning the phones and selling tickets for upcoming events such as the Airshow and Ming: The Golden Empire exhibition.
The staff on the Information Desk are there to answer visitor queries, ranging from where the toilets are and what tours and activities are going on to queries as specific as what colour of paint was used to decorate the Grand Gallery (it’s called Elephant’s Breath if you were ever curious!). Another part of working on the desk is keeping lost property up to date (with over 200 items a month left behind in the museum, it’s a job you have to stay on top of!)
Moving on up to the galleries, I caught up with Maria in Living Lands; where she was topping up supplies for making prayer flags and hanging some new ones up. It’s a very popular activity with visitors so new flags need to be added pretty quickly!
Then I headed through to the Museum of Scotland, stopping via the Boulton and Watt engine which we run daily along with the Newcomen and Douglas and Grant engines.
I then found Amy in Kingdom of the Scots where she had just been answering some questions about the Queen Mary Harp (which coincidentally is also one of her favourite objects).
Given the sunny weather today, I had to head up to the Roof Terrace, where Andrew was telling visitors about the local landmarks you can see (this position is a definite bonus in the summer months!).
To round off, I stopped past the Team Leaders’ office, where Tim was catching up on sorting the daily rotas, staff holidays (very important) and finishing off the collection and counting of the donation boxes. Luckily, he doesn’t have to count the donations by hand , but given the number of boxes in the museum it still pretty big task.
As well as catching up with my colleagues, I also took the chance to ask them “What is it you enjoy about working in Visitor Services?” The answers varied but had one common factor: the people you work with, visitors and colleagues alike. Bearing this in mind, come say hello to us next time you’re in and if you need a question answered, don’t forget to look out for the lilac shirt!