Last week, we told you all about the museum’s software upgrades, and how they affect your digital experience with the museum.
Those high-tech changes have in turn led the museum to redesign the real-life experience for visitors walking into the museum. Now guests can enter the museum through the theater on Kīna‘u Street, buy a theater ticket at the main museum entrance, and get their membership in order in our expanded visitor service center.
Digital content manager Lauren Oh spurred these changes after seeing how the museum’s new software program Tessitura consolidated all sales onto one digital platform. She quickly realized it would allow the museum to sell Doris Duke Theatre tickets at the front desk—guests would no longer have to trek to the back of the museum during very narrow windows of time.
“I thought that was a great idea,” says visitor services manager Kim Hutchison. Following an eye-opening trip to check out other museums and meet colleagues in Los Angeles in February, Hutchison thought of ways to take Oh’s proposal a step further. “I asked her, ‘Why not have visitor services staff the theater box office, too? And what if that became another official point of entry?’”
Oh and Hutchison worked out the logistics of fitting Tessitura into those ideas, and then presented their concept to the departmental directors and the theater. Everyone agreed it was a no-brainer move.
“I wondered why didn’t we think of this sooner,” says deputy director Hathaway Jakobsen, who oversees Visitor and Volunteer Services. “I’m all about change. Obviously, if it’s not broken, there’s no need to fix it, but I also think that we have a responsibility to say, ‘OK, we’re good, but I know we can be better.’”
Jakobsen fast-tracked Oh and Hutchison’s plan, and just five months later, you can now pay for admission, a membership, or a theater event ticket at the Beretania and Kīna‘u Street entrances, as well as at the Spalding House front desk.
“We are committed to being accessible to everybody, and I never want to put our staff and volunteers in a position to say no,” Jakobsen says. “We always want to be welcoming and say yes. The museum wasn’t always fluid and easy, and maybe didn’t feel as welcoming as it should have. Now we are completely aligned with our mission to be welcoming to all.”
There’s more great news for members, too. The museum’s main campus now features a new office devoted to membership-related issues, which are handled by development associate John Sy, 10am-4:30pm, Tuesday-Friday. When you enter the museum, you’ll find him to your left—he’s the man to see to get your new membership card printed, if you haven’t got a mobile card already.
The area is also a new receiving point for Shangri La tours.
“These changes put nearly every service we offer, in terms of memberships, ticket and event sales, and Shangri La Tour reservations under one roof,” Sy says. “Joining or being a part of a museum event is easier than it’s ever been.”