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Museum Store/Retail

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  • Volunteers interested in working in the museum store have a two-fold job: These volunteers are the ambassadors to Smithfield and work to make visitors feel welcome when they come to our site. Additionally, volunteers working in the museum store are responsible for selling admission tickets and store merchandise.
  • The Museum Store Representative is a volunteer who undergoes Preston’s Smithfield’s training program and who supports daily operations at Smithfield by running front-end shifts in the Museum Store. This worker’s main tasks include: greeting guests, selling admission tickets and selling museum store merchandise.

    The Museum Store Representative is tasked with engaging guests in a positive and effective manner and are responsible for upholding Preston’s Smithfield’s mission statement by helping to facilitate positive visits to our site. Museum Store Representatives represent Preston’s Smithfield and all of its stories, ideas, and mission. These individuals are ambassadors for Preston's Smithfield and its brand and are responsible for providing the highest level of service and care to all guests and staff.

    Essential Functions

    1. Completes specific tasks including, but not limited to:
      • Running front-end shifts in the Museum Store.
      • Selling admission tickets to guests.
      • Selling museum store merchandise to guests.
      • Organizing museum store merchandise and assisting with tagging and inventory tasks.
      • Providing information to guests about site events, operations etc.
    2. Museum Store Representatives report directly to the Visitor Experiences Manager.
    3. Provides a high level of hospitality and service for all guests and staff.
    4. Communicates regularly with team leaders about operational problems.
    5. Participates in all training sessions as required.
    6. Acts as a team player.
    7. Performs other duties as necessary.

    Minimum Requirements

    • Must be 18 years of age or older for Museum Store Representative jobs; some may allow persons aged 16 or older to fulfill certain functions.
    • High school diploma or equivalent (unless enrolled in high school or GED coursework)
    • Must have strong verbal communication skills.
    • Must successfully complete all institutional and departmental training; must pass Museum Store Representative training assessments.
    • Preferred one year of customer service experience and museum interpreter experience.
    • Must have weekday, weekend, holiday, and evening availability.
    • Must have availability to work during Smithfield special events and programs.

    Special Skills

    • Must have strong interpersonal skills: ability to work in a team, possessing a friendly and upbeat disposition and the ability to connect with a diverse audience and workgroup.
    • Must be able to maintain a high-energy, hospitable demeanor for hours at a time.
    • Must be able to read, retain and then communicate complex ideas to diverse audiences.
    • Must be able to follow directions and multi-task.
    • Needs to be flexible, professional (in appearance and demeanor), and approachable; must be enthusiastic, passionate, and willing to try new things. Should be a self-starter.
    • Some public speaking or theater experience may be helpful.
    • Must be able to work independently and as a member of a team.
    • Ability to use mobile technology like iPads and other tablets.
    • Must possess the ability to efficiently use QuickBooks Pro store software and must feel comfortable and confident handling and counting money - cash, checks and credit cards
    • Good manual dexterity is helpful.

    Physical, Mental, Environmental Considerations

    1. Physical:
      1. Standing/walking - constantly
      2. Sitting - constantly
      3. Climbing stairs - occasionally
      4. Lifting - occasionally, up to ~30lbs
    2. Vision:
      1. Normal
    3. Mental:
      1. Observation, analysis, interpretation, decision making.
      2. Ability to read guest needs and interests and respond appropriately.
      3. Recognition that Preston’s Smithfield presents information that guests will respond to in different ways; should possess the maturity and ability to respond appropriately and professionally if faced with a guest responding emotionally to the subject matter presented on the house tour.
      4. Should be able to work under pressure and around large crowds of varying ages.
      5. Ability to communicate clearly and effectively with all guests and staff.
      6. Should be able to shift between tasks quickly, in order to fill in a position typically done by other staff. Museum Store Representatives should expect to work as supporting members of the organization.
    4. Environment:
      1. Must be able to work in indoor and outdoor locations in all seasons (including sunny and inclement weather) during the course of a shift.
      2. Ability to come prepared to work outside (daily garden maintenance, trash collection etc.) regardless of weather conditions.


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PO BOX 11531, BLACKSBURG, VA 24062, US

Mission Statement

The Smithfield-Preston Foundation seeks to inspire a new generation through the stories and values of all those who lived at Smithfield. These values are courage, leadership, education, and justice. Its purpose is to help people gain perspective from the past, insight for the present, and inspiration for the future.


Smithfield is located in what is now Blacksburg, Virginia. It was built between 1772
- 1774 and is the ancestral home of the Preston family. Today, as a museum, it aspires to
provide perspective from the past, insight for the present, and inspiration for
the future. The stories at William Preston's Smithfield influence people to be
courageous and to seek justice by acting as leaders in their lives and communities. At
William Preston’s Smithfield, we focus on four main values: courage, leadership and
education, and justice.
It is our goal to make Smithfield into a place that is inclusive to all people groups.
Smithfield tells histories that are often inspiring and sometimes really challenging.
Regardless of the topics we cover, Smithfield fosters dialogue that builds empathy and
understanding. Those connected with it aspire to make Smithfield a safe place for
unsafe ideas.


Arts & Culture
Arts & Culture, Community, Employment


We'll work with your schedule.


1000 Smithfield Plantation RoadBlacksburg, VA 24060



  • Customer Service
  • Transactions
  • Multi-Tasking
  • People Skills
  • Public Speaking


  • Teens
  • People 55+
  • Group


  • Must be at least 16
  • Orientation or Training
  • For volunteering, we are happy to work with whatever hours you are able to provide us - if you're able to commit to multiple days a week, great! If you're only able to commit a few hours each week, that's fine too. We can certainly use volunteer help

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