Dennison Railroad Depot Museum's Underdog Community Development Services

Every community has a dream - something they want to be when they grow up. They have some ideas...but just don't know how to implement them. After two decades of experience in helping to make the dreams of a very small community in Appalachia, Ohio come to life, we have a theory: If we can do it, anyone can do it!

Let us help you fine-tune your vision and create a strategy to put this vision into motion.

Project development, fundraising, community engagement, grant writing...we can help you!

Contact us toll free at 1-877-278-8020 if we can help.

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Friday, May 10, 2013

Lobby Lifeguards Can Protect Your Museum Visitors

Museum entrance ways and lobbies can be like Grand Central Station!  People are coming to visit the museum, eat in our restaurant, looking for the gift shop, seeking to purchase tickets for up to a dozen events at a time, wanting to donate an artifact…or just exploring.  On top of that, all our employees are busy with a variety of personal projects. 

Our dilemma was:  How do you make sure each and every visitor is handled with Legendary Customer Service?

To solve this problem, we created the Lobby Lifeguard Approach, which enforces relentless focus upon excellent customer service.

The mission given to every Experience Coordinator on our front line is to consider that our Lobby is a swimming pool and they are lifeguards.  Their job is to make sure no one drowns on their shift.  Tips include:

  • Always Watch the Pool! Just like a lifeguard, never take your eyes of the “pool” – or in our case, the Lobby! Never get distracted, never walk away and never leave the “pool” unattended.
  • Search for Danger. Just like a lifeguard, regularly be on your guard and proactively search for danger. Look for the “swimmers” or visitors who may be in trouble needing assistance.
  • Have your Life Preserver Ready. Just like a lifeguard, have your rescue equipment ready. Be prepared, and have all the tools you need to “save” a visitor at your fingertips, whether it be maps, phone numbers, brochures, tickets or event information.
  • Watch for Dolphins. Consider your Museum Members to be “Dolphins” and watch for them to surface. A bell should go off in your head that this particular “swimmer” is your core constituent which you need to protect and preserve. Keep your members safe!
  • Watch for Sharks. Keep a lookout for “Sharks”, or your power animals in the water – Community Leaders, Potential Donors, elected officials. Just like Sharks, they require special care and attention, and you would hate to miss them if they are in the pool!
  • Remember, swimming should be fun! Don’t forget to bring the theater, magic and just good old-fashioned fun to the pool! Every visit to your museum should be a pleasant, memorable event.
  • Lifeguards carry a big responsibility. Your front line people should be trained as seriously and meticulously as a lifeguard is trained. You are entrusting them with the life of your business.

At the end of the day at the pool, we encourage our Experience Coordinators to ask themselves: Was my service to our visitors LEGENDARY? Was everyone safe on my watch? Did my actions or lack of actions add or detract from the customer experience? Was my work just “good enough” or did I make the visitors day remarkable?

Wendy Zucal, Director of the Dennison Depot Museums Network which includes The Dennison Railroad Depot Museum, Historic Schoenbrunn Village, The Uhrichsville Clay Museum and the Law-Reed-Huss Historic Farm. Feedback welcome at Follow the museum blog at

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