The Manual of Museum Management by Gail Dexter Lord & Barry Lord

The Manual of Museum Management by Gail Dexter Lord & Barry Lord

Author:Gail Dexter Lord & Barry Lord
Language: eng
Format: epub
Publisher: AltaMira Press
Published: 2009-03-19T16:00:00+00:00

3.3.7 Visitor Services

Visitor services, including admissions, retail and food services, rentals, and general visitor care, greatly influence the quality of the visitor experience and communicate the museum’s attitude toward the public. Like marketing, visitor services have been included in this section of the chapter because they have so much to do with the public, even though they are usually part of an operations department or administration. These services are often managed by administrative departments, although the staff, whether full- or part-time, salaried, contract, or voluntary, have more personal involvement and communication with visitors than most other museum workers. They offer a wealth of frequently untapped information about the museum’s visitors and their needs. And to do their job well, they need extensive training, monitoring, and evaluation.

Museums that are truly visitor-responsive have redefined the role of front-line staff from being vaguely “administrative” to asserting a very conscious approach to “visitor services,” creating a new working environment that integrates visitor services staff fully into the museum profession. Where this has been done, as it has at many of the larger museums, great improvements have been achieved in the level of visitor satisfaction. Where it has not yet been accomplished, visitors often suffer from ill-informed admission clerks, bored security guards, and undistinguished food services. Amy Kaufman’s case study 3.6 in this section demonstrates the importance of establishing visitor services as part of an operations division, as well as the power of all museum departments working together to improve services to the public.


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