From the Metropolitan Museum: more lessons

I’ve learned a few things from the fifty interviews in Museum: Behind the Scenes at the Metropolitan Museum of Art by Danny Danziger.

Most of the specialized workers loved art to begin with.  There’s a security guard who had fallen in love with art on a vacation to Italy.  And most report being taken to museums as children.  One even described playing hooky from school and spending the day at the Met.  The exception is a maintenance worker who took the job for the paycheck and ended up being changed by his surroundings.

All the workers enjoy watching visitors.  They eavesdrop on the crowds at special exhibits and in the permanent collections, thus taking the pulse of their customers.

And all agree that their workplace is special.  They all get the mission and are proud to be part of it.

I hope this helps all you would-be employees of a museum.  If you want to be better prepared, you should read the whole book.

There’s also a message for the rest of us.  It’s the mission thing.  Do you know why your organization exists?  Do you know about its founding?  Structure?  Governance?  Challenges for the future?  The more you understand of its background, the more fully you’ll be prepared to share your talents.


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