Front Desk Lead
Olympia, WA Front Desk & Reservations
Job Type

Located on Olympia’s East Bay waterfront, the Hands On Children’s Museum is the leading play-based, early learning institution in Southwest Washington and the most visited children’s museum in the Pacific Northwest hosting 300,000 annually (excluding pandemic). Our mission is to stimulate curiosity, creativity and critical thinking skills through rich, interactive learning experiences. We believe that all children deserve respect and the opportunity to learn regardless of their ability to pay which is why the Museum works hard to serve more than one-third of its visitation through a robust suite of Access programs.

Voted a “Best Place for Kids” for more than a decade, the Museum offers a state-of-the-art LEED Gold facility with 150 indoor exhibits, a half-acre Outdoor Discovery Center and nature play space, Arts Studio, MakeSpace for tinkering and inventing, café and gift shop. Our award-winning education programs including camps, workshops, preschool, parenting classes, field trips, community outreach and family support programs.

The Front Desk Lead will provide exceptional customer service and safety for visitors and will supervise and support Reception staff and volunteers in the absence of or in support of the Front Desk Manager/Supervisor. Ensures museum policies and procedures are practiced including admissions, membership or other sales, safety procedures, cash handling and lobby maintenance. Tests and contributes input to department procedures and assists in training new department staff. Works with Visitor Services and Café Managers/Supervisors to troubleshoot daily museum staffing or customer service issues. Reservations support duties include taking all reservations in the absence of the Reservations Coordinator according to reservations procedures, and completing reservations support tasks assigned by Reservation Coordinator, Front Desk Supervisor or Manager. In addition, when acting as onsite Reservationist will act as rear/group entrance Receptionist. Other tasks that may be assigned as time allows may include department support work (ex: brochures/pass prep, outgoing donations, filing) or support for Visitor Services, Gift Shop, or other museum departments. This is a Part-Time position with a schedule of 30+ hours/week.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities include:

Front Desk Daily Shift Operations

  • Ensure all practices and procedures are followed for daily tasks of front desk operations.
  • Is front desk Person in Charge (PIC) in absence of Front Desk Manager or Supervisor.
  • Able to trouble shoot complex issues with ticket sales, program sales and refunds.
  • Pre-plan required staff daily rest and meal breaks – clearly communicate to staff.
  • Ensure that minor work rules regarding breaks are strictly adhered to.

Staff Training & Shift Supervision (in the absence of or in support of manager/supervisor)

  • Supervises Front Desk/Gift Shop staff. Reports less than satisfactory staff performance to Front Desk Manager/Supervisor for possible follow up counseling.
  • Gives feedback for staff annual reviews.
  • Tests and gives input on department procedures.
  • Executes training plans for new Reception staff as assigned – uses training plan/checklist and documents items completed.
  • Ensures all staff scheduled are on site or initiate follow up call/staff substitute. Supports other departments who may be short staffed by sharing staff.

Reservations/Department Support

  • Takes reservations in the absence of the Reservations Coordinator, following all reservations procedures and providing the highest level of customer service. Includes receiving birthday party reservations, camp registration and clear understanding of field trips and preschool.
  • Acts as back/group entrance Receptionist ensuring all safety and security procedures are practiced.
  • Ensures sign in books or other preparations are coordinated with VS and Education department for evening or next day programs.
  • Completes assigned reservation tasks from Reservations Coordinator or Front Desk Manager/Supervisor – may include confirmation letters, calls or other tasks.
  • Completes weekly party prep and clear communication to Front Desk Manager/Supervisor when unable to complete party prep due to time off, etc.


  • Calls for assistance if customers are waiting too long in line; or calls for line manager and gate keeper when needed.
  • Regularly checks and responds to emails and phone messages in a timely manner.
  • Participate in daily rally and communicate information to other staff.
  • Attend Front Desk, and All Staff meetings – providing agenda items as needed. Regular, daily communication with department supervisors and managers to ensure optimum customer experience.

  • Bachelor’s Degree preferred relevant work experience may substitute.
  • 1-2 years progressively responsible experience in a retail and office setting, including experience supervising staff or as a lead and meeting sales goals.
  • Excellent cash handling and customer service skills.
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills.
  • Excellent initiative and problem-solving skills.
  • Excellent office skills including word processing; e-mail; record keeping and multi-line phone system. Proficiency with Microsoft Office software, including Microsoft Outlook, Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.
  • Excellent project coordination skills; multi-tasking and prioritizing Able to work independently with limited direction in a fast-paced environment with a great deal of flexibility.
  • Must be reliable and detail oriented.
  • Ability to work with individuals from a wide variety of ethnic, cultural and economic backgrounds.
  • Experience in sales and marketing; developing sales plans and meeting sales goals.
  • Ability to work in a team setting with a high degree of daily communication required. Must care about and value the viewpoints of the other team members and organizational mission.

Physical Demands: 

  • Must be able to remain sitting at a desk for long periods of time.
  • Must be able to type for extended periods of time.
  • Must be able to repeatedly sit and stand.
  • Must be able to lift up to 15 pounds.

Workplace Values

Achieving our mission requires great people who actively demonstrate our core values.

When applying, please submit a cover letter, resume, and 3 professional references.


Compensation & Benefits: As a leading non-profit, we offer competitive compensation, medical, dental and vision coverage, an Employee Assistance Plan (eff. 3/1/2023), paid time off, paid holidays, a 401(k)-retirement plan, and special perks including museum passes and membership, discounts on preschool, camps, in the Museum Store and Café, and paid parking. Benefits vary by number of regularly scheduled hours worked, length of employment, and employment status. See benefit details for this position here.

The Hands On Children’s Museum exhibits, education programs, and employment are available to all without discrimination.

Salary Description
$17.50 - 19/hr DOQ