Meet an EMP: Alexander Morris-Johnson

photo (1)Years in Museum Field: 10

Degrees/Certificates: BS Elementary Education and Business Administration (in progress)

Current Occupation: Visitor Engagement Supervisor at Please Touch Museum

Previous Museum Experience: Visitor Services Supervisor and Camp-In Assistant Manager at The Franklin Institute

Did a mentor play a significant role in your career development? I must say that I have not one mentor but two. My first mentor would have to be my first manager at The Franklin Institute, Bonita Bell. She was an inspirtation and the mother at work for most of the staff. Although she stayed tough on me it was only to make me better and greater in customer serivces so that I would succeed in the museum field or in whatever I planned to do. She taught me what it was to be a part of management and I learned a lot from her, much of which I find myself still using in my current position.

Now for my second mentor I must say whom is still my mentor today, a great manager, and one of the best bosses a person could have and that is Patrick Wittwer. Meeting Patrick was an awesome time during Camp-In. Working with him I also learned to really smile, be proactive in working with visitors, and play a big part in a visitor’s experience. Patrick is one of the reasons I am where I am today because of his belief in me to do good things at Please Touch Museum. As my manager Patrick has taught me how to hold my composure when things are going bad and not as planned. I have learned to smile through anything and how to bring the morale of my staff up when they are feeling down.

How does your current position fit into your career plan? My current positon as Supervisor of Visitor Services fits perfectly in my career path. From Starting as a Volunteer at The Franklin Instiute to Supervisor at Please Touch Museum, I am on my way to bigger and better things. One day I want to be the Manager and/ or Director and keep climibing the ladder until I am running the entire building.

What museum organizations do you belong to? Philly EMP

What do you know now that you wish you knew when you began in this profession? The one thing I know now that I wish I knew when I began in this profession was that the visitor is the most important person on our premises. That they are not dependent on us but that we are dependent on them. That we are not doing guest a favor by serving them, but that they are doing us a favor by giving us the opportunity to do so.

What do you enjoy most about your position? The best part of my job is seeing children and their families having a great time and leaving with a smile on their faces knowing that they will return becuase of the awesome experience they just had.

What is it that keeps you engaged at work? What keeps me engaged in my position is my staff. They keep me grounded and on my toes everyday. Watching them and listening to them talk and play with the children on the museum floor makes me happy and makes me want to come to work everyday knowing we may have made a difference is someone’s day or life if only just for a moment.

Alex began his museum career as a high school volunteer in the winter of 2004 at the Franklin Institute. The following summer Alex was brought on as a Greeter II in the Guest Services department. In 2006, Alex was promoted to Guest Services Supervisor and crossed the bridge into the Museum Programs department when he joined the Camp-In staff. Two years later, he was promoted to Camp-In Assistant Manager, a role which he continues to hold to this day. It was Alex’s performance in this role that led to his current position as Visitor Experience Supervisor at Please Touch Museum, a position he has held since the summer of 2013. Alex’s favorite museums outside of Philadelphia are the Spy Museum in Washington and the Adventure Aquarium in Camden.

Fun Fact: While Alex loves going to the beach, he is afraid of the ocean.

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