A gallery attendant at an art museum helps both the museum and visitors to the museum in a number of important functions including, but not limited to, exhibit security, arranging and guiding tours, and answering questions. Also sometimes known as a docent, the gallery attendant may be a volunteer or a paid position for an art museum.
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The gallery attendant duties for the general public are wide in scope and include a variety of tasks. A gallery attendant may greet visitors upon arrival and verify tickets and passes, invite visitors to sign a guest book, hand out promotional material, answer questions and provide or arrange a guided tour. A gallery attendant will monitor visitors while they look and observe a museum's art displays and caution them about complying with museum rules.
Gallery attendant duties are also important for the maintenance and operations of the museum. Gallery attendants may help museum curators in setting up and displaying new art exhibits, clean exhibits, patrol rooms and provide security for exhibits. Before opening and after closing, gallery attendants' job duties include preparing the museum for visitors and cleaning floors and counters,
Most people who become gallery attendants have a keen interest in art and/or art history. Along with an appreciation for art, a gallery attendant should have an enjoyment and enthusiasm for meeting and talking to people. Gallery attendants' duties include answering questions, so gaining background knowledge about artists and specific exhibits is helpful. Gallery attendants must be prepared to stand and remain focused for long periods and to approach visitors diplomatically when they break museum rules.
Education and Training Requirements
Though a college degree in visual arts is certainly beneficial, there is no formal educational requirements for becoming an art gallery attendant. Most anyone can become an art gallery attendant as long as she has good communication skills and an outgoing personality. Most art galleries will require new docents or attendants to go through a formal training process, either in a class situation to learn about exhibits and artists, on-the-job training or a combination of both.
Opportunities and Considerations
Gallery attendants may be needed at most any public or private art museum or gallery. An art gallery attendant is generally a volunteer position, though some museums will hire paid staff at minimum wage. Be prepared to become an art gallery attendant for the enjoyment of the job, not as a full-time career. Gallery attendant jobs are great for retired individuals, art students or just those who have a passion for art.
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