It was confirmed yesterday that in England, as of May 17th, indoor entertainment venues may reopen, in line with details such as the Rule of 6 or 2 households, social distancing etc, masks.
Your museum, venue or gallery may have had plans for weeks, already announced a date for reopening, perhaps even be taking bookings and selling tickets. Or you may have had to wait for the confirmation of changes before your management were willing to confirm and say anything. You might even be in a difficult place of being unable to reopen, or unwilling to just yet.
Either way, I bet that there's an uptick in your query emails, so to help as the same answers need to keep being provided in a chipper tone, how about a game of bingo?
I actually had to be part of a situation like this.
The venue had failed to think through the full ramifications of opening times and staff hours, but it was eventually worked out, although had an understandable knock on effect on new staff who had been planning their travel arrangements around the orignally advertised job times. It's a bit rubbish too, having to tell someone who has just finished their visit that they can't buy anything, because you have already closed the till up.
"I'm calling to check about visiting with someone who is blind. As their assistant, do I get free entry?"
"Yes you will, although they will need a ticket."
"Do we buy that in advance? Do we need to book anything?"
"You can just get tickets at the entrance desk, and then you're both welcome to simplylook around."
"Uh, poor choice of words, I'm so sorry..."
*Laughing* "Not at all, at least you realised what you'd said!"
The Natural History Museum in London had a large family pleasing exhibition on mammoths a while ago.
In the summer school holidays visitors had a long queue to enter the building, and then another queue to enter the paid exhibition.
It was a bit of a surprise to find a stunningly unhappy bored looking child, whose parent had endured the entire thing and forced them to do so to, on the assumption that it was some kind of "sit down and watch the entertainment" type activity.
When told it was an exhibition, very exciting ancient things to see, they just left.
Last month, a museum that has lost all of its council funding posted a recruitment advert seeking a museum assistant. The responsibilities of the job included helping visitors, conducting guided tours and demonstrating exhibits, assisting with the use of equipment, and security patrols of the museum.
The advert continued: “This varied role will also include working with reception, ticketing, shop/cafe sales, cashing-up, stock control, answering the telephone and relaying messages.”
The salary offered – for a role spanning almost every public-facing aspect of the museum’s work – was £15,917-£15,941 a year (or £7.65-£7.66 an hour). The museum is by no means the only offender, but the advert is an indication that some cash-strapped institutions may be asking more of their employees for less than ever before.
This snippet is taken from some very interesting reading on the matter, see the Museums Association's full article about the impact of wages and roles on museums staff here.
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