Tips For Volunteers

Customer Service

  • If you see a visitor wandering around, GO AND ASK IF YOU CAN HELP. No visitor should ever have to wander around looking for something to do. Everyone here is a tour guide.
  • Know the daily schedule so you can promote various events and activities throughout the day.
  • Encourage visitors to attend the events and activities on the daily schedule, but never drive them away; if they want to stay with you or do something else, be helpful and friendly.
  • The customer is almost always right. If you hear a complaint, either do your best to resolve it, or contact a supervisor.

"Working" a Site

  • Greet the visitor to the site like you would a friend to your own home
  • Introduce yourself to the visitor and ask them some questions about themselves:
    • Where are you from?
    • Is this your first time visiting the American West Heritage Center?
    • Are you familiar with…?
  • Introduce the visitor to the site with a 20 second “sound bite” – a quick introduction to the site
  • Use specific stories about people from your time period to engage the visitor’s interest
  • Draw connections from their 21st century life to the time period you are representing
  • Pay attention to the questions they ask you. This will help you recognize what their interests are
  • Be careful not to bombard the visitor with too much information, visitors will quickly loose interest. Instead, engage in a conversation with them – ask them questions and let them answer- this will naturally lead to more questions from them
  • Be sensitive the children they may have with them – include the children in you conversation or have one of the younger volunteers play a game with them.

Body Language

  • Eye contact is important in showing the visitor that you are friendly and interested- look and then look away – be careful not to stare your visitor down
  • Keep your arms out to the side of your body or behind your back - crossed arms are intimidating and uninviting
  • Be careful not to stand either too close or too far away from the visitor
  • Face the visitor with your whole body
  • Don’t forget to smile!

Maintaining the Site

  • Remember to keep the integrity of the historical site – hide anything that would be out of place for your site’s time period, i.e. water bottles, plastic cups, cell phones
  • Clean up after yourselves and your children; make sure everything gets put back where it came from
  • Be aware of any garbage on the site and please take the time to throw it away
  • Offer your skills and your help to the staff interpreter in preparing food, mending equipments, weeding the garden, or cleaning the site
  • Take the time to make sure your clothing and appearance is neat, tidy and historically appropriate – remove conspicuous jewelry, makeup, watches or hair decorations

Enthusiasm is contagious! Don’t be afraid to share your interest and your passion!

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