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It's Like Christmas for The Dowse Front of House Team

Author: Sasha Greig, Front of House Team Leader

This week the front of house team received some exciting presents… The Dowse Art Museum cardigans!

While this may not seem very exciting to anyone else, it marks quite a significant point for our team. Not only do they look pretty nice, as far as uniforms go at least, it is also the first time we have had any formal identifier of us as staff on a daily basis.

Before getting the cardigans, I had been in a debate of sorts with myself. As front of house staff, we need to be obvious to visitors, as they need to know who to ask when they have a question, or who they can go to for information about exhibitions, artworks, or where the toilets are. At the same time, a massive part of the role that front of house plays, involves connecting with visitors on a personal level. We are the ones who give the museum a human face, we are (usually) the first people visitors see when they walk into the museum, and the people they share their stories with when they exit the galleries. In my experience, nearly everyone that comes into a gallery or museum has an interesting anecdote or memory that is brought to the surface through the experiences they have throughout the galleries, and the front of house staff are the ones who get to relive those stories through conversations in the galleries or in the shop area as people are browsing. Perhaps somewhat selfishly, I was a bit hesitant about a uniform getting in the way of building those personal connections, as fleeting as they may be.

Having seen the front of house staff wear the cardigans for a week, I think my mind has been put at ease. While it is immediately obvious that the staff are much easier to identify in the galleries and foyer, it does not seem to have dampened people’s abilities to express their personal identity, or connect on a personal level with visitors. Who knows, maybe being easier to spot in the galleries will actually open up the opportunity for more people to share their stories, and if nothing else, at least people know exactly who to ask for directions to the toilets.

Sasha
Front of House Team Leader

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