Like many museums across Canada, the Bytown Museum in Ottawa each year hires visitor service agents.
Located along the eight locks of the Rideau Canal, between Parliament Hill and the Chateau Laurier, the Bytown Museum is housed in one of the oldest stone buildings in Ottawa. It offers permanent exhibitions and organizes events to bring to life for visitors the origins of Ottawa with the arrival of John By and the construction of the canal.
Interview with Robin Etherington, executive director of Bytown Museum
What criteria are required to become a visitor service agent ?
We have several criteria:
- Age: a candidate must be at least 16 years old,
- Language: speaking French and English is mandatory for a candidate. Fluency in another language is considered an advantage.
- Diplomas: a future service agent must have diplomas in first aid and cardiopulmonary resuscitation.
What are the hiring processes ?
Firstly, the positions are posted in colleges, universities and museums in the region. A candidate can’t escape the fact that the Bytown Museum is seeking candidates for the summer. We study applications carefully, interview selected applicants, check the references provided and then make an offer. Once the mandatory police check has been done, we issue the contract that is signed by both parties.
What are the features of the contract ?
During the summer, contracts are full time and last four months. Once fall comes, they may be extended, but part time.
Is training provided to employees ?
Yes, absolutely. The youth will follow intensive training during the first two weeks and receive ongoing training throughout the length of the contract.
Tell me about the profile of the candidates you select as a visitor service agent
In terms of studies, candidates who come to work in the Bytown Museum during the summer generally have education related to history, museology, tourism, heritage, education and the performing arts. Regarding aptitudes, the museum seeks candidates with experience in working with the public, a real passion for history and heritage, and organizational and communication skills. In addition, they must demonstrate a certain team spirit. All of these intellectual skills and human qualities will let them perform the duties of a Visitor Services Agent under the best conditions and be able to speak about the various events arranged during the summer and fall seasons such as Mexico Fantastico, Treasure Hunt, Hundred Years of Scenography, Halloween Fun, etc.