So you want my arts job: Visitor Services Officer

Molly Desmond is a Visual Services Officer, but what does that mean?
Picture of Molly Desmond on blue background. Molly works at a gallery

Going by several names – what used to be known as a ‘gallery guard’, was then fashionably called an ‘invigilator’ and is now more commonly referred to as a Visitor Services Officer (VSO) – there is a lot more to the job than just taking a shift and standing in a gallery or museum surrounded by art.

ArtsHub caught up with Molly Desmond, who is a VSO with the National Portrait Gallery in Canberra (Australia), to get the scoop on what qualifications and training you require, what are some of the curly questions you face on the job and, more simply, what is the attraction to being ‘on duty’ in the museums and gallery sector.

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Gina Fairley is ArtsHub's National Visual Arts Editor. For a decade she worked as a freelance writer and curator across Southeast Asia and was previously the Regional Contributing Editor for Hong Kong based magazines Asian Art News and World Sculpture News. Prior to writing she worked as an arts manager in America and Australia for 14 years, including the regional gallery, biennale and commercial sectors. She is based in Mittagong, regional NSW. Twitter: @ginafairley Instagram: fairleygina