Staff Profile: Charles Parker
How long have you worked at MOA?
A year a bit now intermittently throughout the summer and university year. I have been a volunteer, a work study student, a volunteer again, and I am currently a summer employee.
What is your job title and what do you do?
Front Desk is my job title, and I do a plethora of various things, and while the title may tell you an idea what I do, just sitting at the front desk is far from all of it. I open and close the museum, greet and guide visitors as they enter, make sure the gift shop and gallery are tidy. I answer the phone; run the gift-shop, operate the Virtual Reality and inform customers about the history of the museum and its programs. If you call the phone on certain days of the week, I will be the one that answers. If you’re buying things from the gift shop, I help you. Above everything else, I am happy to be the first face you see when you enter the museum, and I will help you as best I can.
How did you begin working at MOA?
Luck. I was looking to do some volunteer work over the summer back in 2017 as I usually do and stumbled upon an ad on Pillar not for profit Network for a volunteer to help run the virtual reality. I seemed to do a good enough job that within a month I ended up applying for work-study at the museum for front desk work, and did it with enough aplomb that I ended up being welcomed back again in 2018. Education wise, I am working towards completing a history major, so working at the museum is a good way of using the skills I have spent the last few years in school for.
For a small local museum tucked away behind a residential block on one side and the Medway forest on the other, it’s surprising just how much this museum can offer.
What inspired you to work at MOA?
I like museums. Seemed fitting that I would perhaps try working in one. As mentioned, I found out about work here was luck. The work here is pleasant and inspired me to stay and pour my time into this place whether I was getting paid or not.
What do you love about being a staff member at MOA?
The somewhat relative autonomy and responsibility given to you. I am often given a great deal of freedom to work on what I want, just if I get the work done in a timely manner. This is good for a job like working front desk that can be messy and random. This doesn’t apply to some things of course; it’s not like I can just open and close the museum whenever I choose, but most of the paperwork and other little tasks have a great deal of freedom attached to it.
What advice can you give others?
If you want to work at a museum under the delusion you will not have to at any point interact with customers, you are in for a surprise no matter how secluded your job may seem. Also, some days I find things either don’t move at all for hours, or everything happens in an instant.
When you’re not at work, what do you enjoy doing?
I play games, press flowers and make art out of them, I enjoy making riddles and going on walks/hikes. I like reading history, philosophy and other academic subjects and play way too many pen and paper RPG’s. I generally adore fantasy and sci-fi as genres, and I am an enthusiastic amateur when it comes to gardening and cooking.
Have you had some memorable experiences at MOA in your time here?
One of the most memorable experiences I have is doing my first tour and finding out that I am not all too bad at this “speaking” thing. I found you can say a lot about the history of the people who lived here despite the general mystery surrounding them (for example, we don’t know the true name of the people who lived here.) Overall, I enjoyed those tours greatly, and the satisfaction of seeing someone truly transfixed and invested in what your saying is very satisfying and memorable.