Information Desk Handbook

Responsibilities of Information Desk Volunteers

The Information Desk Volunteer performs an important role. As one of the first people Museum visitors meet, the Information Desk volunteer is the visitor’s first impression of the Heard Museum.

 

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, 602-252-8840, and ask them to give a message to the person at the Information Desk or to the Las Guias that you will not be present. 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 on your desk (Museum IT department is in charge of the information screen) 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.

Basic Duties

  • 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 scheduled tours.
  • If the visitor has no specific ideas of the 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 time in Home, either on a tour or self-directed.
  • If the visiting group includes children, be sure to point out the areas with activities for children.
  • Tell visitors about tours that have just started. Do not try to add visitors more than 10 minutes into the tour.
  • As visitors leave, thank them for coming to the Heard Museum. Point out the directions to the Gift Shop and the Bookstore.

 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 and exhibits 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. Info 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 the room behind the security desk across from admissions.
  • Cameras are allowed but no flash, be sure to inform visitors if there is an exhibit where pictures are not allowed.
  • As a courtesy to other visitors, have phones off or on vibrate. (a suggestion, not a rule!)

Provide information to visitors

  • Check the Visitor Guide & Map 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 about American Indians,
— Refer the visitor to admissions personnel if the question refers to museum personnel,
— Direct the visitor to the Touch Screen in the Kitchell Gallery.
— Use the information available at the desk (in drawers to your right) 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 your shift. Being at the desk to make 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 volunteer 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.
  • Don’t conduct personal business or read when there are visitors arriving, exiting, or in the Kitchell Gallery.

Common Questions

HOW SHOULD I SEE THE MUSEUM?

  • If visitors have small children, direct them to the Sandra Day O’Connor Center which will have activities related to current exhibit/s.
  • Refer to the foldout map in the center of the Visitor Guide & Map Be sure to point out the locations of the elevators and stairs.
  • Point out the location of the walkway to or from the Boarding School Exhibit.

IS THERE A DRINKING FOUNTAIN?

There are four:

  1. The nearest to the Info Desk is next to the bathrooms past the Lovena Ohl Gallery;
  2. Outside doors of the Piper Grand Gallery to the South Courtyard;
  3. Just past the Café off the Central Courtyard;
  4. In the restroom area in the Piper Grand Gallery

WHERE ARE THE RESTROOMS?

There are three locations:

  1. Past the Lovena Ohl Gallery;
  2. In the Piper Grand Gallery;
  3. Just past the Café off the Central Courtyard

ARE THE IRON CABLES IN THE LYONS/CROSSROADS GALLERY STRUCTURAL OR AESTHETIC?

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

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. There is an elevator outside, south of the South Courtyard, and one to the left of the Security Desk.

WHERE IS A PUBLIC PHONE?

There are NO public phones; however the Museum has free Wi-Fi access.

CAN I LEAVE AND COME BACK TODAY?

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

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.

DOES THE HEARD HAVE ANY REMINGTONS?

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

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.

IS THERE AN ATM?

Yes, it is located off the Central Courtyard just past the Café.

Info on the Home Exhibit

  • The flooring is bamboo.
  • The curved slatted walls are poplar wood.

Heard Museum Visitors

Why Do They Visit?

  • To learn About American Indian culture
  • To see other cultures’ perspective
  • To gain an appreciation for a subject or art form
  • To engage Interactive exhibits
  • To learn history of area