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Garden and Estate Interpreter - Full Time

Pay Type: 
Hourly Rate
Job Status: 
Minimum Salary/Hourly Rate: 
Maximum Salary/Hourly Rate: 

Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library

Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library encompasses an unrivaled museum of American decorative arts in its mansion and galleries and a magnificent 60-acre naturalistic garden—all set on 1,000 gorgeous acres.

Winterthur employs a wide array of positions in the areas of curatorial, horticulture, education, conservation, library, maintenance, marketing, development, technology, and administration.

At Winterthur, employment is more than just work. The Winterthur employee is offered a unique and rewarding experience that is rich in culture and natural beauty. Winterthur considers its employees and volunteers to be among its greatest assets and welcomes applications from candidates who will contribute their specific skills to its mission “to inspire, enlighten, and delight all of its visitors while preserving and enhancing [Winterthur]” and also uphold its core values of agility, excellence, innovation, integrity, inclusion, and transparency.


Winterthur is seeking garden enthusiasts to serve as Estate Interpreters. The Estate Interpreter will serve as a Lead Guide, coordinating daily tram and shuttle bus operations. The function of the Estate Interpreter is to provide visitors access and connection to the garden and estate through interpretation and transportation. The Estate Guide provides excellent visitor service and engagement by leading narrated tram tours of the garden and estate, guiding garden walks, and providing lightly interpreted estate shuttle transportation. Creating a positive and memorable experience for Winterthur visitors is a priority. The Estate Interpreter will represent Winterthur to the public in a gracious, courteous and responsible manner, being mindful of visitor safety and comfort at all times.

Flexibility, enthusiasm, and a desire to embrace institutional change while safeguarding the intellectual integrity of the estate’s history will be critical for the success of this position. Demonstrated leadership in an educational or museum setting as well as a familiarity with interpretive strategies for engaging diverse audiences is a plus. Superb communications skills and a willingness to tackle new programmatic content will be required.

Evening and weekend hours will be required of the position, particularly during major estate-wide events and high visitation periods, including but not limited to Easter, Mother’s Day, Point to Point (May) , Enchanted Summer Day (June), Truck and Tractor Day (October), Yuletide (mid-November to early January) and others.

Estate Interpreters will participate in ongoing training to continue to expand their knowledge of the garden and estate, as well as to hone their interpretive skills. Periodic tour assessments to ensure content accuracy as well as optimal accessibility for all visitors will be conducted. An enthusiasm for creating a welcoming, dynamic and engaging experience at Winterthur for all our visitors is a must.


  1. Provide excellent visitor service and understanding of Winterthur by welcoming visitors, meeting their needs for orientation, interpretation, comfort, and safety.
  2. Serve as the Lead Guide on a rotating basis which will include attending the morning meeting with the Visitor Services Assistant on duty and other key staff to know all circumstances that will impact the guiding day and plan accommodations accordingly. The Lead Guide is current to the day with latest news about the garden, guide staffing, activities occurring on the property, and vehicles in the rotation. The Lead Guide’s responsibilities will be shared among all full-time Estate Interpreters.
  3. Provide interpretation of the garden and estate that suits various ages, abilities and interest levels, including via: narrated tram tours, which include driving up to 24 people in an open air tram along predetermined routes for up to 45 minutes while sharing approved interpretation via a public address system, narrated shuttle transportation, which include driving up to 20 people in a timely manner on a predetermined route to their various destinations while providing light orientation to the property, guided walking tours of up to 90 minutes for general and specialist audiences, and school garden programs; some of which will have pre-determined interpretation, others will require the guide to determine best places to go and topics to discuss based on visitor interest
  4.  Support ongoing interpretive training in both content and technique in accordance with Winterthur’s interpretive goals.
  5. After training, serve as mentor and Lead Guide for new and existing guide staff.
  6. Support assessments of interpretive offerings using a variety of evaluation methodologies including tracking, surveys, and interviews to ascertain points of resonance with visitors and areas where opportunities exist to improve the visitor experience.
  7. Assist in a variety of tour preparation functions, including research.
  8. Participate in additional programming that supports interpretive goals which could include Garden Insider and other educational offerings.
  9. Provide occasional transportation for weddings and special events, which at times will be narrated, and may occur at night.
  10. Stay current with program communication via Winterthur-provided e-mail or portal announcements.
  11. Perform other administrative, guiding or driving related duties as needed and requested by Supervisor

Compensation: $15.00/hour

Benefits: Including, but not limited to, medical, dental, and vision insurance; generous paid time off plan; 403b with employer match for eligible employees. 


Minimum Experience: 5 years’ experience in teaching, visitor service or tour industry with a talent for public speaking with a high school diploma

Preferred Experience: Knowledge of gardens and horticulture and the Delaware/Brandywine Valley area, experience commercial driving


  1. Excellent visitor engagement, oral communication and interpersonal skills. Welcoming demeanor and ability to interact well with guests of all ages and abilities.
  2. Knowledge of Winterthur garden and estate history, or ability to retain and interpret information provided during training and provide direction to points of interest for guests
  3. Basic understanding of landscape design, plant materials, plant identification and horticultural practices.
  4. Skilled in creative interpretation, using “Excellence in Interpretation” training techniques.
  5. Able to maintain authority and appropriate assertiveness in ensuring that tours are conducted in accordance with Winterthur’ safety protocols, stay on time and on track, and safely direct visitors during an emergency
  6. Problem solving and flexibility in face of guest, weather, and institutional demands
  7. Knowledge of basic operation of motor vehicles is required. Able to operate trams and shuttle buses efficiently and safely including night driving. Defensive driving certification will be required as part of training.
  8. Ability to understand and follow safety procedures, and written and verbal instructions.
  9. Ability to complete basic reports, both handwritten and in Microsoft Word

Essential Functions:

  1. Valid Driver’s License free of any moving violations, and ability to successfully complete a Defensive Driving Course.
  2. Driving 30-foot 24-passsenger garden trams and 20-passenger shuttle buses along an established route that may be changed due to weather, road conditions, or events.
  3. Opening and closing over head garage doors
  4. Occasionally loading or unloading a guest who uses a wheelchair. Ability to work with another staff member lowering and raising a 50-pound hinged wheelchair ramp. Ability to position an occupied wheelchair onto a ramp or lift, and to bend and kneel to fasten and unfasten restraints.
  5. Working outside in adverse weather conditions.
  6. Ability to step 12” into and out of tram.
  7. Able to speak and hear in a normal range in order to answer guest inquiries
  8. Able to safely drive at night.
  9. If assigned to a garden walk, must be able to lead 90-minute walks, including walking securely over hilly terrain, on a variety of surfaces, and going up and down stairs, while interpreting.
  10. Ability to communicate via email, with appropriate training provided by Winterthur

Work Schedule: Variable – weekday and weekend averaging 35 hours per week; occasional evening, early morning, and holiday work required.