Info Desk Handbook

Responsibilities of Desk Volunteers

The desk volunteer is the second person, after admissions, the visitor meets. It is important to set a welcoming, friendly tone and to treat every visitor with courtesy, friendliness and respect.

 Administrative Tasks
  • Arrive for your shift on time.
  • Sign in by initialing on the information desk calendar in the folder in the drawer.
  • If you will not be able to cover your shift, you are responsible for finding a substitute.
  • If you will not be able to cover your shift and do not have a substitute, call the admissions desk and ask them to give a message to the person at the information desk or the Las Guias that you will not be in. This way the volunteers who are there can work around your absence.
  • Familiarize yourself with the tours scheduled during your shift. Refer to the electronic schedule and the printed Las Guias assignments in the desk drawer to see if there are any special tours in addition to those on the electronic schedule.
  • Update the “next tour” clock, as needed.
  • Dress code is similar to office casual, no jeans.
  • Museum IT department is in charge of information screen in lobby
 Basic Duties

 Greet visitors—

  • Greet each person or group as they come in the door. Look at visitors as they enter the museum and verbally welcome them to the museum.
  • Ask if you can help them find anything. Remind them of the next two scheduled tours.
  • If the visitor has no specific ideas of areas they want to see, make recommendations. Ask them about the amount of time they wish to spend in the museum and about their interests. Suggest they spend some in Home either on a tour or self-directed.
  • If the visiting group includes children, be sure to point out the two areas with activities with children.
  • Tell visitors about tours that have just started—do not try to add visitors more than 10 minutes into the tour.

 Direct visitors to their desired destinations—

  • Show visitors routes they can follow on the museum map in the center of the guide book and provide a verbal description of the route they will follow by describing the rooms along the route.
  • It is very important that the desk volunteers remain at the desk. Any guiding of the visitors around the museum should be done by the Las Guias. Basically desk volunteers need to be available for new visitors, the Las Guias are the roamers.

 Remind visitors of Museum rules—

  • Leave backpacks and drinks in cubby holes in the room across from admissions.
  • Cameras are allowed but no flash, be sure to inform visitors if there is an exhibit where pictures are not allowed.
  • Phones off or on vibrate.

 Provide information to visitors—

  • Check the information pamphlets in the holders on the information desk to be sure there is enough for visitors. If not, ask admissions for more.
  • If a visitor asks a question, assist the visitor in finding the answer. The most common methods to use are:
  • Ask the Las Guias in the area if it is a factual question
  • Refer the visitor to admissions personnel if the question refers to museum personnel,
  • Assist the visitor in filling out a “I Have a Question” card for museum personnel to research the question and respond to the visitor. Then give the card to the admissions personnel.
  •  Use the information available at the desk to show the visitor the route to the airport, a restaurant, or another attraction. If you don’t know the answer, refer the visitor to the admission desk personnel or ask the Las Guias if they know.

Don’ts

 Don’t leave the desk during the shift—

  • Being at the desk to make the visitors welcome is your job description. If you need to go to the restroom, if possible, ask a Las Guias to watch the desk in your absence.

Don’t answer questions regarding Indian culture unless you have completed the Las Guias course–

  • Even then stay very much within the guidelines taught in class.
  • Although there are a variety of opinions on some issues, the Heard Museum has very strict guidelines on its answers.

 Don’t ask a Las Guias to provide a tour–

  • Las Guias have a tour schedule and other scheduled activities, it is not the place of the desk volunteers to interfere with that schedule.
  • If a group appears after the regular tour time, sometimes a roving Las Guias will offer to show them certain areas, but that is at the discretion of the Las Guias.

 

Common Questions

1. HOW SHOULD I SEE THE MUSEUM?

If they have small children, direct them to Freeman Gallery and Ullman Learning Center.

For example:

  1. Start with Kitchell Gallery
  2. Crossroads Gallery
  3. Sandra Day O’Connor Gallery (History and Collections)
  4. South Courtyard and upstairs to Compass and Boarding School Exhibit.
  5. Lovena Ohl Gallery
  6. Home

Or start in the other direction!

2. IS THERE A DRINKING FOUNTAIN?

There are three:

  1. The nearest is next to the bathrooms next to Ohl Gallery
  2. Outside doors that lead down to Freeman
  3. Outside the entrance

3. WHERE ARE THE BATHROOMS?

Restrooms are located past the Lovena Ohl Gallery, between Ullman Learning Center and Freeman Gallery, and north of the Café off the Central Courtyard.

4. ARE THE IRON CABLES IN THE CROSSROADS GALLERY STRUCTURAL OR AESTHETIC?

Iron cables similar to those in the Crossroads were often used Spanish Colonial style building. The ones in the gallery are only for decoration.

5. ARE STROLLERS OR WHEELCHAIRS AVAILABLE?

They are available at the admissions desk on a first-come-first-served basis with an ID needed as a deposit.

6. WHERE IS A PUBLIC PHONE?

Public phones are located in the South Courtyard by the east stairway and in the Central Courtyard next to the restrooms.

7. CAN I LEAVE AND COME BACK TODAY?

Yes, if the visitor keeps the sticker that was given to them at the admissions desk.

8. IS THERE A LOST AND FOUND?

Any items that have been lost or found can be reported to a security officer or the admissions desk.

9. DOES THE HEARD HAVE ANY REMINGTONS?

The Heard specializes in artwork made by Native American artists so there are no Remingtons.

10. WHERE DID NATIVE AMERICANS GET BEADS USED IN THEIR ARTWORK?

Some early tribes made beads from shell or bone. Later, beads were acquired from European and Spanish settlers and traders.

11. WHAT IS THE MEANING OF THE WORD NAVAJO? ARE ITS ORIGINS SPANISH?

There is no definitive answer regarding the meaning of the word. Some think it may be an archaic Spanish word. Others say it comes from Apaches de los Navajos, meaning Apaches of the fields, although there is not indication that Navajo means field in Spanish. It also could have come from a Zuni word. People of Navajo descent call themselves Diné.

Info on Home
  • The flooring is bamboo.
  • The curved slatted walls are poplar wood.
  • The wall boundary/cubbies in Home also represent windows and are made of mica. Mica is used in a lot of Native pottery. You can tell when mica is used because there will be little sparkly specks in the clay.

 

Most Common Questions

1)     Where’s the Restroom?

2)     Where Should I Start?

3)     Is There a Place to Eat?

4)     Where’s the Shop?

5)     Are there Any Special Exhibits/Events Today?

 

Heard Museum Visitors

Why Do They Visit?

–Learn About Native culture

–See other cultures’ perspective

–Gain an appreciation for a subject or art form

–Interactive exhibits

–Learn history of area