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Career Story: Birthday Party Program Manager For A Museum

Birthday Party Program Manager For A Museum

Job Title: Birthday Party Program Manager For Museum

Type of Company: I work at a natural sciences museum in North Carolina, where our main mission is to promote education about the natural world, focusing on plants, animals and regional habitats.

Education: BA, Anthropology, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill •• MA, Elementary Education (in progress), Meredith College (Raleigh, NC)

Previous Experience: I worked at the museum as a summer camp instructor, special events educator and outreach educator for many years before accepting a job as the outreach specialist. Then I was offered the job as the birthday party manager.

Job Tasks: I used to spend more time delivering programs, but at this level I book the parties and provide customer service to families that have parties at the museum. Parents often have lots of questions and requests about the birthday parties. I also hire and schedule adult and college-age instructors and high school-aged assistants who deliver the parties. I am responsible for making my expectations clear and keeping morale up! Right now there are 10 instructors and 6 assistants on the Birthday staff.

I also sign out animals for each party, since we are at a science museum. Most parties have a set of four animals that I sign out, but sometimes the animals are not available or a family requests a specific animal.

I am responsible for maintaining the party budget since the program is supported by the party booking fees, so I keep track of everything that is paid for and the amount of money that comes into the program as well. I also make all of the purchases for activities, crafts, food items and party bags. I design new parties and work to promote the parties so that our bookings stay up. I review evaluations of the parties to see what changes need to be made and use staff feedback to make adjustments. I also have to put together crafts for the parties and put together party bags. This takes a lot of time.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: Best: most people are happy with the parties, and it is a happy time in most people's lives. I usually get great feedback from the families and the employees. I can make decisions about the job and make changes where I feel they should be made when things do not go well.

Worst: I am always responsible for the parties, even though they happen on the weekends when I am not there. If someone cancels at the last minute, I have to drop everything and go in. I also get a little tired of making party bags and cutting out craft items.

Job Tips: I would not discount math skills in any job. All over the museum I have been able to get a lot done because I am pretty strong in math and budgeting. All of those math classes can be useful in a job that does not seem math-oriented in the title.

Keeping really good records gets boring and seems unimportant until a problem crops up. Often instructors stress organizational skills and these have come in handy on many occasions in my job.

If you really love working a place, keep doing it, even if it is part-time, and let people know that you do.

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