|Date Posted:||June 10, 2021|
|Reports to:||Art Tour and Docent Program Coordinator|
Job Summary and Key Objectives:
The Historical Interpreter is responsible for guiding guests of the Owens-Thomas House & Slave Quarters, and Telfair Academy through both an audio-guided tour and in-person guided tours. Historical Interpreters assist guests by answering questions about the social history, art, and architecture of the properties.
Candidates for the Historical Interpreter position will successfully complete up to 20 hours of training to become proficient in customer service, preferred tour techniques, all aspects of the history of the Owens-Thomas House & Slave Quarters including 19th century social history, history of regency architecture, and fine and decorative arts. Candidates will be evaluated on their knowledge and ability to lead tours.
Key Responsibilities and Tasks
- Understand and learn the history and tour techniques of the Owens-Thomas House & Slave Quarters and deliver accurate, interesting, and compelling tours for Telfair Museums’ visitors.
- Abide by daily tour schedule and remain true to the facts of the history of the Museums.
- Deliver excellent customer service.
- Report any damages or safety issues to management or Security.
- Act as a representative of The Telfair Museum of Art, Inc., to promote the museums and encourage visitors to visit the other Telfair Museum of Art locations.
- Work as a team with other Interpreters, Front Desk Associates, Retail Shop Associates and Management to provide a warm, welcoming and professional experience for visitors.
- Work in other areas as assigned.
Minimum Qualifications and Education
- An interest in American History, fine and decorative arts, architectural history and/or public history.
- Bachelor’s degree in history or the arts.
- Excellent oral communication skills.
- Experience in public speaking, lecturing, training, guided tours, or other related experience working with the public.
- Friendly, helpful and courteous; must be enthusiastic about the tours being given.
- Ability to work with large groups independently and professionally.
- Ability to problem-solve
- Ability to learn new software
- Flexibility in scheduling and assignments
- Promptness, reliability and dependability are a MUST.
- Desire to educate visitors about the historical significance of Telfair Museums.
- Ability to work with diverse audiences.
- Ability to walk and stand for extended periods of time
- Ability to climb stairs
- Ability to work both indoors and outdoors in various types of weather year-round
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.