Over the years I have seen Canterbury Museum go from strength to strength, with ever increasing visitor numbers, excellent customer service, high customer satisfaction and good exhibitions. But also Canterbury Museum is an Investor in People, which means our museum is a great place to work with good opportunities for training and development.
Eva Huismans is Museum Outreach and Training Coordinator at Canterbury Museum, and an assessor for ATTTO. She was awarded ATTTO’s 2010 Training Ambassador Award for the museums sector at the Museums Aotearoa MA2011 Conference in April.
Tell us about an inspiring museum experience?
Since 1999 a group of enthusiastic volunteers at Ferrymead Heritage Park organises children’s activities once a month for children between the ages of 5 and 18. Their group is called “Heritage Youth” and the activities are based on the lives of children in the 1920s. Not only do the volunteers teach the children about everyday life at the beginning of the 20th century in a playful and fun way, they also encourage the children to become involved in the other societies that are homed in the park. Over the years many children have become volunteers themselves for one of the many societies at the park. The Heritage Youth group has fought hard to obtain their own building in the park, and they have now been allocated one of the cottages which they are going to convert in a 1920s “living” classroom where children and their families are invited to have hands-on experiences when they visit the park. The Heritage Youth volunteers show vision, passion and commitment and they are vital for ensuring continuity in the volunteer pool of the park.
What are you passionate about?
I am passionate about helping people solve their problems and reach their goals, and especially about helping people to help themselves.
What attracted you to being Volunteer and Training Coordinator at Canterbury Museum?
Being able to visit so many small museums in the area and assist in any way I can, and to be a link between various museums.
What makes good service?
Communicating with your customer, finding out what your customer wants and offer your services, but also be proactive and think creatively to make your customer’s experience as pleasant and memorable as possible. In general: give more than what your customer would expect.
How does one train good service?
Managers have an important role to play. They can lead by example, and need to give supportive and constructive feedback.
How did the earthquake affect you?
Canterbury Museum is still closed, so at the moment I am working from home. Not having access to resources, business email etc, and having only limited contact with colleagues makes it sometimes a bit more complicated to offer assistance to the smaller museums.
How is Canterbury Museum at the moment?
The Museum has had the initial green-sticker, but a more detailed building report is in progress and therefore the museum is still closed for the public and for most of the staff. However, behind the scenes a number of staff are working on a earthquake recovery projects. Fortunately only a very small number of objects have suffered damage.
What do you see as your museum’s strengths?