A Day at Work: Museum Guide

Museum guides help you get the most out of your visit.
By Carmen Cusido
Man leads a group of four children through a museum.
Jonathan Milard leads students on a tour of the Intrepid Museum, in New York City.
Courtesy Intrepid Museum

Jonathan Milard is the manager of school and teacher engagement at the Intrepid Museum, in New York City. He plays a crucial role in shaping educational experiences for students. He’s given nearly nine years of service to the museum. But his career there began in October 2014, when he joined as a part-time educator. The institution soon offered him a full-time position, and over time, he became a manager. Milard gave Your Hot Job a glimpse of his career trajectory and his daily work life.

Early Morning Routine

Milard’s day starts at 7 a.m. He then packs a lunch for work and then rides the subway from his home in Queens, New York, to the Intrepid Museum, in midtown Manhattan. The Intrepid is a decommissioned WWII aircraft carrier docked on the Hudson River. Milard gets to work by 9 a.m. During his commute, he checks his emails to see what meetings or tours are scheduled for the day.

The Intrepid Museum is a decommissioned WWII aircraft carrier docked on the Hudson River.

Launching into the Workday

At his office, Milard delves into research-related tasks. He preps with his colleagues before meeting with student groups for tours, starting around 10:30.

The Intrepid’s programs cater to learners of all ages, from curious kindergartners to enthusiastic high schoolers. The museum can accommodate up to 180 students each morning, Milard says. He notes that the Intrepid welcomes students from all over the world, but the majority come from New York City public schools. Each year, the Intrepid hosts more than 55,000 students, contributing to the museum’s annual visitor count of more than a million.

“I have the privilege of working with students and teachers, sharing resources and exploring themes of aviation, space science, and history to ignite their imaginations and foster a passion for learning,” Milard says. Much like Miss Frizzle from the Magic School Bus book series, Milard sparks excitement in his students by dressing up to match the theme of the day’s museum program. His outfit serves as a visual cue for the adventure that awaits. “Because our programs are inquiry-based, we ask students what they notice and what they think about the objects,” Milard says. “If we’re talking about how aircraft fly, we talk about what students notice that can help airplanes fly or hinder their flying. It’s very interactive.”

Jonathan Milard explains how an ejector seat worked. It allowed pilots to eject themselves from their plane.


Lunchtime for Milard is usually around noon. If it’s warm outside, he’ll take a walk along the river. When he doesn’t pack a lunch, he’ll take a stroll and choose one of several restaurants in the area.

Afternoon Responsibilities

In the afternoons, Milard leads meetings with the museum’s team of 20 full-time educators. Some of them work with the Intrepid’s after-school programs or develop programs for visitors with intellectual or developmental disabilities.

Because the museum receives a lot of its funding from state and federal grants, many of Milard’s afternoon meetings focus on tracking and ensuring the success of grant-funded projects. He also works on administrative tasks, such as developing lesson plans and overseeing program operations.

Wrapping Up

Milard’s workday usually ends around 5 p.m. Before heading home, he makes sure everything is set for the next few days by prioritizing tasks and updating a to-do list.

On his subway ride back to Queens, Milard often reads a science fiction or fantasy book, or he’ll listen to music.