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Meet the Museum's Team

“How did you end up working at the Museum?” is one of the most common questions our staff receive.

Kris (pictured right) with Inspector Russell Turner, 2016

In order to answer that ‘burning’ question, plus any others that you may have, we will be showcasing members of the Museum’s team throughout the year.

Most of our team are very shy, so picking who to feature first was a hard task but we decided to start with our latest employee of the quarter – Kris McDonell. Kris was voted the employee of the quarter by the Museum’s senior team due to her dedication displayed across all of our recent events. She led the team at the Easter Show and Hawkesbury Show, and continued to oversee all retail staff back at the Museum simultaneously. She has become a master at being in two places at once! She was a very worthy employee of the month recipient.

Meet Kris!

Position: Museum Operations Manager (MOM) - Kris ensures the Museum is able to open and be operational each and every day. Kris manages all of our front of house staff and volunteers and is responsible for the efficient operations of all Museum public activities. Kris also oversees the Museum shop

We asked our CEO to sit down with Kris and in true form, whilst the two were managing a Museum event they had a chat about Kris’ time at the Museum as well as some interesting facts about her.

Your Life at the Museum

How long have you been employed at the Museum? Almost 17 years, since November 2004

How did you end up at the Museum? My husband, who is a Firefighter, was involved in the Firefighter Demos (now championships) so I used to go along as well. At one state demo I was bored so offered to help the Museum staff with their stall as it was very busy. After that they offered me a job and I’ve never left.

What is your favourite thing about working at the Museum? I love meeting new and different people each and every day.

Mark White drives the Ahrens Fox on parade

What is something you’ve learnt while working at the Museum? How to do financials. Yes, ironic given I hated economics at school, maybe I should have paid more attention then! A big part of my job is overseeing the day-to-day financials for the shop so learning how to manage that has been a great asset to my position.

What is your favourite object in the Museum’s collection? The Ahrens Fox. I love how unique it is plus I have a lot of good memories travelling to heritage events and parades with our former CEO Mark White on it. The Ahrens won’t be going on parade anytime soon now that Mark has passed which is a shame, but I won’t miss how cold it was riding to events on it!

What is your favourite memory about working at the Museum? Meeting James Blundell at Truck Show as I had the biggest crush on him!

What does your day at the Museum look like? I can sum up my day in three points:

1. Customer service

2. Multi-tasking

3. Jack of all trades

If you could change anything about the Museum what would it be? My shop! I really want to modernise it along with the really old displays in the Museum.

Museum staff meet James Blundell at Truck Show 2007

All about you:

Kris (pictured right) with Museum Curator Laura (left) and her son Alex

Where were you born? Wollongong, NSW

Where did you grow up? Wagga Wagga, NSW

What was your first job? A clothing shop in Wagga Wagga when I was 14 years old.

What was your favourite subject at school? French. I loved learning something different to all of my other classes. I hated economics.

What did you want to be when you were a kid? I was very interested in the old gangster films, especially Al Capone so I wanted to learn more about that era. I had no idea what to do with that so more practically I decided I wanted to be a teacher. I then found out that I didn’t have the patience to be with kids all day so this is why my current role is great because I can spend time with our school groups but by 3pm they return to their schools and it may be a few days before we have another school group so it is nice to have a break between big groups!

What is your favourite time period of history? 1930s prohibition America. I think this ties in with my answer above.

What historical figure do you wish you could meet? I’ll keep with my theme – Al Capone or the police officer that brought him down.

What is your dream job? Air hostess, I’d like to be able to travel to exciting places and see the world. I already work in customer service each day so doing that and seeing new places sounds like a nice idea.

Kris (center) with Museum CEO Belinda (left) and Curator Laura (right)

The Big Questions

What inspires you to get out of bed every day? My job. I love it. Even if I won lotto, I think I’d still come to work, I might just try and cut back on some of the very long hours!

What would you like to see happen in the future for the Museum? Lots of newer displays and modernising. I’d like to see people coming back to visit because there is something new to see, having regularly changing exhibits would be ideal so that we can offer more to our members and local community to keep them coming back.

Thanks very much to Kris for all of her dedicated work to the Museum over the years and we look forward to seeing her at the Museum for another 16 years!


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