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Interested applicants should send a cover letter, résumé/CV, and contact information for three professional references to hr@telfair.org.

Position: Director of Visitor Experience & Engagement
Reports to: Executive Director and CEO
Date Written: 10/5/2022
Department: Full-time, exempt

 

Job Description:

The Director of Visitor Experience & Engagement is a critical member of Telfair Museums’ senior management team, and is involved in all aspects of visitor services, customer satisfaction, and public programming. S/he is responsible for overseeing the “Telfair Experience,” ensuring an excellent visitor experience across the entire Telfair campus. The Director of Visitor Experience & Engagement partners closely with the Executive Director and CEO in advancing the public brand of the museum and serves as an ambassador. The position supervises all Visitor Services, Education, and Retail staff. The position is responsible for forecasting visitor trends and tracking and reporting on visitation and maintaining operations budgets. This position serves to constantly review the entire visitor experience in order to exceed audience expectations.

Key Responsibilities and Tasks:

  • Responsible for the development and management of all visitor services and amenities to ensure the delivery of an efficient yet exceptional visitor experience across the entire Telfair campus
  • Responsible for oversight of all public programming, including in-house, local, and outreach programs for all audiences.
  • Implement regular assessment of the visitor experience to develop data-driven plans for increasing visitation, revenue, and visitor satisfaction and to drive continuous process refinement and improvement
  • Work with the Manager of Interpretation and Training in developing and championing the “Telfair Experience” customer service philosophy and training program(s) across all Telfair departments and sites
  • Supervise and mentor the Visitor Experience, Education and Retail staff, and work with the Development staff to ensure a seamless visitor experience for all program participants, funders, and other stakeholders
  • Ensure appropriate staffing for general visitation hours, onsite and/or after-hours events in coordination with the Curatorial and Education Departments and the Director of Events.
  • Manage the point-of-sale system for admissions and retail stores and oversee reservations and ticketing and purchases onsite and online. Lead organizational efforts to update the point-of-sale system as needed.
  • Develop and maintain the Visitor Experience budget and work with the CFO to set annual goals for revenue
  • Collaborate with the Curatorial and Facilities teams to ensure exhibits are in excellent condition, museum buildings and grounds are visually appealing, and the entire campus is well-maintained and secure.
  • Create contingency plans for maximum building capacity, and other needs for high visitation periods
  • Contribute to the development and implementation of Telfair’s Diversity, Equity, Accessibility, and Inclusion goals to ensure that all visitors feel respected, warmly welcomed, and comfortable in the museum
  • Develop procedural and programmatic training guidelines and criteria for the Visitor Services team, to ensure a positive experience for staff, volunteers, and visitors, and best-in-class customer service
  • Collaborate with Education and other departments to plan and conduct engaging public programming, including Free Family Days, Juneteenth celebrations, and other such programs and annual events.
  • Contribute to Curatorial team and exhibition planning meetings to help provide high-quality, hands-on experiences throughout the Telfair campus.
  • Collaborate with the Marketing department to drive promotion and sales of programs and admissions; respond to visitor issues received via phone and/or email
  • Maintain close coordination with Director of Education and Visitor Services & Group Tours Manager to support programs, field trips, and other group visits, including ticketing, onsite management, tour logistics, and workshop facilitation
  • Collaborate with curators and interpreters at the Owens-Thomas House and Slave Quarters to ensure smooth operation of interpreter-led tours.
    Work with Curatorial, Education, and other departments to develop and implement audio, electronic, and other technology-based enhancements to visitor experience.
  • Develop, hire, train, manage, and implement a gallery host program in conjunction with security services and the Manager of Interpretation and Training
  • Coordinate with Finance office to ensure that established financial controls are in place and all Front Desk staff are trained in financial procedures.
  • Responsible for communicating information, including upcoming programs, marketing campaigns, and messaging to all Front Desk staff in a timely manner to ensure implementation of new or revised policies, procedures, or general information.
  • Oversee the process of collection and distribution of visitor satisfaction data and comment cards to appropriate staff for resolution.
  • Represent the Visitor Services team on various internal committees and work groups, and advocate for their interests in Telfair’s ongoing operations and special projects
  • Continually look for ways to increase efficiency and flow for the visitor experience and internal processes and make recommendations and changes as appropriate.
  • Monitor and review wayfinding, information, and other signage for clarity and ease of visitor usage. Coordinate any changes with Director of Operations and Creative Director
  • Other duties, as assigned.

Supervisory Responsibilities:

Lead the visitor experience & engagement, education, and retail staff working closely with senior leadership to attract, develop, and retain talent. Direct reports include Director of Education and Senior Curator, Manager of Interpretation and Training, Outreach & Youth Engagement Coordinator, Retail Operations Manager & Buyer, and Visitor Services & Group Tours Manager. Carries out supervisory responsibilities in accordance with the organization’s policies and applicable laws. Responsibilities include interviewing, hiring, and training employees; planning, assigning, and directing work; appraising performance; rewarding and disciplining employees; addressing complaints and resolving problems.

Qualifications:

  • Bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution
  • Minimum five years of progressive work experience managing guest relations, professional staff, public engagement, and operations within a hospitality site, cultural institution, retail establishment, or similar customer/guest-centric environment
  • Ability to work independently and perform multiple tasks efficiently without close supervision
  • Ability to develop and manage an operational budget
  • Demonstrated commitment to the social sector, with an interest in and enthusiasm for museums and education
  • Must be able to work a weekday and weekend schedule, including school vacation weeks, occasional evening events, and some holidays
  • Comfort with Blackbaud’s Altru or other customer relationship management software is desired
  • Training in life safety, emergency preparedness, and other security measures preferred but not required

Skills and Attributes:

  • Demonstrated experience in developing/nurturing positive customer interactions
  • Excellent customer service, leadership, management, problem-solving, and decision-making skills; ability to exercise composure and diplomacy at all times
  • Strong written and verbal presentation skills; ability to communicate effectively with the public, staff, vendors, and contractors
  • Driven, energetic, highly collaborative and results-oriented
  • High level of accountability and efficiency, especially while handling multiple tasks
  • Good research, planning, and organizational skills; strong work ethic and follow-through; excellent attention to detail
  • Act as a senior representative of the museum at internal and external meetings, events, and public speaking opportunities. Act with discretion and professionalism to create a positive image for the museum among supporters and the general public. Maintain good departmental relations with trustees, collectors, donors, artists, the media, and the public.
  • Outstanding ability to speak to small and large gatherings impromptu or with prepared remarks
  • Collegial team player, sense of humor, wisdom

Physical Requirements:

  • Ability to perform various functions such as standing, sitting, walking across uneven surfaces, climbing stairs, lifting, seeing in varying light conditions, and participating in some physical activities
  • Must be able to move safely throughout the Telfair campus and lift 40 lbs

Salary & Benefits:

Telfair Museums offers a competitive salary and excellent benefits. The position has a salary range of $70-100K based on experience.

Please provide the following as part of your application:

  • Complete resume, references and including salary expectations.
  • A cover letter addressing both your interest in Telfair Museums and your qualifications for this position.

Application:

  • Indicate “Director of Visitor Experience & Engagement” on the subject line of the email or in the body of the cover letter
  • Applications in electronic format preferred and accepted at hr@telfair.org.
  • Mailed applications: Telfair Museums, Attn: HR, PO Box 10081, Savannah, GA 31412.
  • Position open until filled.

 

Summary

Telfair Museums offers compelling expressions of visual culture — embracing three unique buildings and three distinct collections that bridge three centuries of art and architecture. The museum develops awareness, understanding, and appreciation of the arts and serves as a dynamic cultural center connecting people of all ages and backgrounds.

Telfair Museums is the oldest public art museum in the South, founded in 1883 through the bequest of prominent local philanthropist Mary Telfair, who left her home and its furnishings to the Georgia Historical Society to be opened as a museum. Today, Telfair Museums consists of three unique buildings: Telfair Academy and the Owens-Thomas House & Slave Quarters, two National Historic Landmark sites built in the early 19th century, and the contemporary Jepson Center for the Arts.

Designed in the Regency style by English architect William Jay, the Telfair Academy houses 19th- and 20th-century American and European art, including paintings, works on paper, sculpture, and decorative arts. Highlights include fine examples of American Impressionism and Ashcan School Realism, with major paintings by Childe Hassam, Frederick Frieseke, Gari Melchers, Robert Henri, George Bellows, and George Luks. The Telfair Academy is also home to Sylvia Shaw Judson’s iconic Bird Girl statue, made famous in the Jack Leigh photograph on the dust jacket of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.

The Owens-Thomas House & Slave Quarters is considered one of the finest examples of English Regency architecture in the country. In addition to the historic house museum and decorative art ranging from the late 18th to the early 19th century, the site includes rare intact urban slave quarters and a lovely parterre garden. The site underwent an award-winning reinterpretation in 2018, providing audiences with a broader understanding of how slavery impacted urban life in and beyond the home.

The Jepson Center, designed by acclaimed architect Moshe Safdie, is devoted to temporary exhibitions and today’s art and home to the Telfair’s Kirk Varnedoe Collection, a cornerstone of the museum’s contemporary holdings. The collection features works on paper by some of the most pivotal artists of the past 50 years, including Jasper Johns, Chuck Close, Roy Lichtenstein, Jeff Koons, Robert Rauschenberg, Frank Stella, and Richard Avedon. Other contemporary artists include Carrie Mae Weems, Helen Levitt, Sam Gilliam, James Brooks, and many notable Georgia artists.

Telfair Museums’ permanent collection of paintings, works on paper, photography, sculpture, and decorative arts contains over 4,500 objects from America, Europe, and Asia, dating primarily from the 18th to 20th centuries. Telfair provides a range of educational initiatives, including youth and family programming, school tour programs, preplanned field trips for Savannah-Chatham County Public Schools fourth and eighth graders, youth classes, and summer camps. Telfair offers adults a variety of virtual and onground classes and workshops, ranging from drawing and painting classes with established local artists to workshops related to current exhibitions and exhibition opening lectures. Telfair (www.telfair.org) welcomes approximately 225,000 visitors each year.