Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, Smithsonian Institution
New York, NY
United States
Museums/Hist. Societies
Position Level
Education Requirement
4-Year Degree
Position Type
Full Time Temporary
Application Deadline
Cooper-Hewitt seeks a Head of Visitor Experience who will be responsible for all aspects of the museum’s services!
The Head of Visitor Experience will oversee 10 full time and part time staff who will welcome up to 500,000 visitors annually. He/she will play a key role in continuing to transform the visitor experience, working closely with colleagues from other departments to develop a coherent, shared vision for access to the Cooper-Hewitt. The newly redesigned museum, which opens in fall 2014, is expected to attract an audience of students, educators, families, design professionals and the general public from around the world. He/she will be passionate about the new visitor-centered mission of the museum as well as design and digital technology.
• As the front of house ambassador, provides a welcoming, personalized experience for all visitors and encourages them to participate and enjoy Cooper-Hewitt programs and services in an inclusive design environment. Drives a front-of-house culture that encourages repeat visitation and pro-actively engages audiences from non-traditional museum demographics.
• Shapes the Visitor Experience department and visitor-centric service culture through the implementation and continuous improvement of visitor engagement with all museum amenities, interactive digital experiences, educational programming and exhibitions.
• Working with Membership, helps to coordinate the successful use of the members’ benefits that retains and keeps this constituency loyal and involved. Works with Membership to facilitate acquisitions, renewals, and reinstatements both in the admissions line and online.
• Develops systems to ensure that both visitors and members are admitted to the museum in an efficient manner.
• Day to day supervision of all Visitor Experience Associates including preparing performance evaluations/feedback, approve leave and daily schedules. Provide regular briefings to ensure staff are kept informed of all events and exhibitions. Encourages enthusiasm for design and technology, and ensures knowledge of museum content and exhibitions, amongst visitor services staff. Builds a culture where the visitor comes first.
• Works closely with HR in hiring the full Visitor Experience staff for reopening in fall 2014.
• Day to day responsibility for cash drawers and cash handling. Follows all cash control policies and procedures implemented by the museum’s Chief Financial Officer. Perform all aspects of end-of-day revenue reconcilations and including gathering attendance and admissions information from all sources to create the daily report.
• Works with IT staff to create, maintain and update the POS system for admissions and ticketing as well as all digital and interactive devices used by museum visitors.
• Handles visitors concerns, comments, and complaints in a highly respectful and diplomatic manner. Manages visitor helpdesk/enquiry system.The ideal candidate:
• Must have polished communication and presentation skills, as well as a demonstrated track record managing and mentoring a large staff in a high volume customer-centric environment. Requires superb relationship building skills and diplomacy.
• Creative, strategic thinker with proven project and program management experience. Excellent organizational skills and the ability to build consensus within large cross-functional project teams to deliver results.
• Prior success in a leadership role with the ability to interview, hire and provide performance feedback and training as needed

Qualification Requirements:
• Three years of management experience in a multi-faceted, visitor-based environment, such as a museum or performing arts, hospitality or entertainment venue.
• Experience maintaining a positive working environment to encourage, motivate and retain high quality staff.
• A degree in art, design, museum education, theater or business/hospitality administration preferred.
• A working knowledge of digital technology and ability to train others.
• Strong interpersonal skills with the ability to communicate effectively and diplomatically with staff, and the general public and to resolve complaints quickly and effectively.
• Ability to provide exceptional customer service and lead by example in servicing the general public.
• Demonstrated experience using MS Office products, including Word, Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint, Project and other related software applications.
• Experience and expertise with the Tessitura ticketing system, or similar complex CRM ticketing system.
• Working knowledge of new technologies and ideas in cultural programming and museum practice.
• Bi-lingual in Spanish is highly preferred
• Must be able to work a flexible schedule to include weekends, holidays, and special events with limited notice. Must be able to work 9:00AM to 6:00PM. Punctuality is a must since he/she must arrive at least 30 minutes before the museum opens.

TIAA-CREF (Tax Deferred & Defined Contributions)
Life Insurance
Health Insurance
Dental/Vision Insurance
Flexible Spending Accounts
Free Commuter Benefits
Annual and Sick Leave
Federal Holidays
Family Friendly Leave
Family Friendly Workplace
Historic and landmark offices and garden
92Y Fitness Center
Employee Discounts
Free Entrance to Museums and Galleries (New York)
National Design Library
Employee Assistance Program

*Temporary position that may be extended on a yearly basis depending on funding/performance.

ABOUT COOPER-HEWITT, NATIONAL DESIGN MUSEUM (SMITHSONIAN INSTITUTION): Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum (CHNDM), located on Museum Mile in New York City, is the only museum in the nation dedicated exclusively to historic and contemporary design. Its collection is international in scope and encompasses over 217,000 objects representing 30 centuries of design, from Egypt’s Late Period/New Kingdom (1100 BC) to the present. The Museum presents compelling perspectives on the impact of design on daily life through active educational programs, exhibitions, publications and online initiatives. About the renovation: The museum’s main facility, housed in the Carnegie Mansion, is undergoing renovation as part of a $89 million capital campaign that includes enlarged and enhanced facilities for exhibitions, collections display, education programming and the National Design Library, and an increased endowment. During the renovation, Cooper-Hewitt’s usual schedule of exhibitions, education programs and events will be staged at various off-site locations. The renovated facility is scheduled to reopen in fall of 2014.

Application Instructions
Submit cover letter and resume (addressing qualification requirements) to