Membership and Outreach Manager, Longwood Gardens
Founder and Chair, Visitor Experience Group
Nicole has worn many hats in her ten-year career in the non-profit arts and culture field and learned a bit along the way about senior management, visitor services & experiences, membership programs, communications, fiscal planning, strategic planning, community engagement, event planning, volunteer recruitment, and public programming. Raised in family businesses from an early age, customer relations has always been top of mind. She has developed a talent in creating welcoming environments for the public and fostering trust, collegiality, and support among workplace peers.
Imagining and executing new ideas are passions. In 2011 she identified a gap in the museum field in quality professional development opportunities for the front-lines visitor services staff. Working with knowledgeable colleagues as resources, they are now 6 years into our annual Visitor Experience Conference and now attracting attendees from all over the country and internationally.
Nicole graduated with an M.A. in Museum Education from the University of the Arts, is the current president of the Museum Council of Greater Philadelphia, and is always looking to learn about and get involved with new projects and organizations. Contact her to talk shop or just to say hello!
Director of Visitor Services and Assistant Director of Operations, The Mutter Museum at the College of Physicians
Venue Chair, Visitor Experience Group
Working in Visitor Services since 2000, Daniel has worked at a variety of institutions that include The Franklin Institute, Please Touch Museum, The Independence Seaport Museum, The Academy of Natural Sciences, The Barnes Foundation and the Mütter Museum at The College of Physicians. Not always the Director, his experience has propelled him through the ranks. He has had the pleasure of consulting with a variety of museums on everything from lobby redesigns, way-finding, traffic management and visitor services department development. His ability to relate to staff and guest perspectives makes him the constant champion for both a quality visitor experience as well as an invested and passionate staff member.
Manager of Early Childhood Initiatives, The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University
Program Chair, Visitor Experience Group
Tiffany is a native Jersey girl and has been in the museum/professional development/customer service field for over 10 years. She has a degree in Museum Education from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia and has worked at a variety of Philadelphia cultural institutions. Tiffany is currently the Manager of Early Childhood Initiatives at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University where she provides training for teachers. She is excited to have been a part of the founding board of the Visitor Experience Conference and looks forward to many more years of providing professional development at this conference for individuals in the Visitor Services field.
Museum Manager, The Wells Fargo Museum
Marketing Chair, Visitor Experience Group
Patrick Wittwer, a graduate of the renowned Disney Guest Service training program, has worked in Visitor Experience for over 15 years including stints at Elfreth’s Alley, Please Touch Museum, the Franklin Institute, and more. An avid traveler, Patrick enjoys adapting guest service models from institutions around the world to fit his organization. Currently, Patrick is the Museum Manager at the Wells Fargo History Museum and is likely the biggest Muppet fan you will ever meet.
Visitor Experience Manager, Mt. Cuba Center
Hospitality Chair, Visitor Experience Group
Kyle has been striving to improve guest experiences for more than 10 years with stops that include the Delaware Museum of Natural History, Hagley Museum and Library, and Longwood Gardens. Currently, he is enhancing encounters at Mt. Cuba Center in Hockessin, Delaware. Research is kind of his thing (M.A. in History from the University of Delaware), and he has a special interest in visitor studies and their implementation within a museum setting. He also attempts to play golf and loves traveling to faraway places.
Senior Specialist, Administration and Development, Eastern State Penitentiary
Engagement Chair, Visitor Experience Group
A long-time advocate of tourism and cultural institutions in Philadelphia, April O’Brien oversaw the creation of the department of Visitor Services at Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site. Before moving to Philadelphia, April discovered her passion for working with visitors at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC. She believes strongly in the arrival experience; confidence in delivery and competence around the subject are critical components to a successful visitor experience. April is thrilled to be in her third year working with VEX!
Visitor Services Manager, Museum of the American Revolution
Events Chair, Visitor Experience Group
Cynthia began her museum career as a Teen Docent and then an Education staff member at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in her hometown of Pittsburgh. To learn more about how to share her enthusiasm about museums with the public she moved to Philadelphia and received a MA in Museum Communication from the University of the Arts. Over the past ten years, she has molded her career to encompass ticketing and systems operations in addition to traditional Visitor Services duties in order to ensure an optimal guest experience. Prior to her role at the Museum of the American Revolution, Cynthia worked at the Betsy Ross House, Philadelphia Museum of Art and The Barnes Foundation. In her spare time Cynthia enjoys visiting museums, running, yoga and day trips to New York and Washington D.C.
Amanda Dean, Executive Offices Manager, Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA
Marketing & Communications Committee
Mikaela Maria, Museum Assistant, Wells Fargo History Museum, Philadelphia, PA
Lulu Bao, Digital Media Manager, The Delaware Contemporary, Wilmington, DE
Alex Silagyi, Manager of Guest Services, Grounds for Sculpture, Hamilton, New Jersey
Mark Baird, Manager of Guest Services, Grounds for Sculpture, Hamilton, New Jersey
Ali Van Norden, Events Coordinator, National Constitution Center, Philadelphia, PA
Rumana Chaudhuri, Volunteer Information Specialist, National Museum of the American Indian, Washington, D.C.
Andrea Feller, Curator of Education, ASU Art Museum, Tempe, Arizona
Jennifer Padilla, Senior Director of Visitor Experience, San Diego Natural History Museum, San Diego, California
Caitlin Wion, Visitor Services Coordinator, The New Children’s Museum, Lemon Grove, California
Randy Guthmiller, Manager of Visitor Experience, Nasher Sculpture Center, Dallas, Texas
Melissa Falkenham, Manager, Group Services, Museum of Modern Art, New York, New York