Career Story: Floor Manager Of A Museum Shop

Floor Manager Of A Museum Shop

Job Title: Museum Store Floor Manager

Type of Company: A natural science museum which strives to educate and expose the public to North Carolina's natural science, environmental issues, nature and ecology, and to raise awareness and teach both children and adults

Education: AS, Fashion Institute of Technology, New York City •• BS, Textiles, SUNY-Oneonta

Previous Experience: I have been a volunteer, a mom, a retail store manager, an office manager and a children's book data reviewer.

Job Tasks: I am one of the floor managers in the museum store. We are the non-profit part of the museum, so a percentage of our sales is given to the museum to support programs and events. I hire and train the staff, schedule shifts, supervise and teach employees their responsibilities. I also oversee the floor to make sure it is displayed well by theme - that is attractive and balanced, "shoppable" and well-stocked. I need to be aware of what is selling, what is breaking, what is being stolen, what is not selling, so that the displays can be rotated and fresh. They need to reflect the special exhibits in the museum, the seasons of the year, any holidays, and anything happening in the news (like a drought, for example). I make sure I know what is going on in the museum so that the staff knows and can give the info to the visitors. It is important to be well-informed about the museum's activities, what is going on in the science world, and what is going on in the community and in the news. We all contribute ideas and offer suggestions to have new products/books, etc to the store. The visitors ask a lot of questions and customer service is a priority. We have had two stores recently and this has been a challenge to design and set up. It has allowed creativity and required new knowledge. We try to be wise shoppers as we are non-profit and should be saving money if possible. We buy used fixtures and recycle things like boxes and newsprint to save on supplies - while setting a good example and following our own principles. We answer questions about creatures visitors see in their yards, direct them to workshops, meetings and clubs to further their knowledge. We provide handouts for this also. We are educators.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part is the children. I love when they are excited about dinosaurs or snakes! The museum's special events are a lot of fun: I like teaching and exposing the public to nature. I like the constant change of traveling exhibits. It helps me learn more.

The worst part is that too many times good ideas and suggestions on how to make something run more efficiently (or better) get ignored by the people in charge. They don't necessarily work with the public and I wish they would respect those who do and consider our experience and ideas more.

Job Tips:
1.) Visit other museums and see how they do things there. Look at displays, books, toys, etc.

2.) Spend time as a volunteer to see other sides of the job. Learn about things you don't know. Take workshops and meet new people with different interests. In a word, grow.

3.) Spend time with kids to see things through their eyes. They have so much fun and are so excited about life.

Additional Thoughts: I work with many different types of people and so people skills are important to me.

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