Emily West explains where our Visitor Services Assistants come from, and why you shouldn’t be afraid to ask them a question or two.
What you might not have realised about Visitor Services Assistants (VSAs) at the Wellcome Collection, is that we actually know quite a lot. Even though we may sometimes be found skulking in doorways or colouring in feedback cards like recalcitrant children, we’re not just there to tell you to put away your water bottles and turn your camera flashes off.
We’ve been harvested from a variety of backgrounds: currently there are a number of anthropologists on the team with eclectic and arcane ideas from all corners of the globe; historians with specialisms ranging from ancient history to the stories of specific diseases and medical fashions; artists and musicians who cover a huge amount of media and style; and even a stray geneticist.
All VSAs work towards offering tours of the galleries, both for booked group visits and regular scheduled tours. This means that when you pop in on a Saturday afternoon or book your social group in to see us, you could be getting a tour from any one of these hugely varied perspectives; it also means that you can come along to our tours regularly and have a good chance at seeing an entirely different tour every time.
So if you have any questions about naturism legislation, the social history of syphilis, vampires, hair-work jewellery, albinism, genetic legislation or even the relationship between Keats and medicine then come in and have a chat, we’re really very friendly…
Emily West is a Visitor Services Assistant at Wellcome Collection.