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Tour Guide and Programs Assistant (PT)

Yerkes Observatory
373 West Geneva St, Williams Bay, WI 53191
$22 - $25 an hour - Part-time


373 West Geneva St, Williams Bay, WI 53191

Pulled from the full job description

  • Employee discount
  • Paid time off

Full job description

Status: Part-time

Pay: $22-$25 per hour depending on experience

Reports to: Tour and Programs Coordinator

Hours: Average of 24-30 hours per week over a year, varies by season

Benefits: Paid time off and Sick time

Short Summary (1-2 sentences):

The Tours & Programs Assistant will give tours, work in the gift shop, and assist during programs and events. The off-season responsibilities will also involve planning programs and readying spaces for future use.

Full Job Description/Responsibilities:

Yerkes Observatory is seeking a part-time, year-round tour guide to be part of our team! You will lead personable, energetic tours of this beloved Wisconsin landmark and assist during a variety of programs and events. Your primary responsibility will be delivering engaging group tours and out-of-this-world customer service, but the role will also include working in our new gift shop and welcome center.

This position will average 24-30 hours per week. The compensation is $22-$25 per hour depending on experience. It requires regular weekend work and some evenings, the ability to navigate steep stairs and tight spaces, and scheduling flexibility as visitor seasons change. It requires ability to stand for long times, work indoor and outdoor events, walk over uneven grounds, etc. You will have the opportunity to contribute to other aspects of Yerkes Observatory Operations and future team discussions. It is a once in a lifetime chance to join the staff of this international landmark of science, architecture, and landscape design during our first year reopened.

Preferred Qualifications: We prefer you to have experience leading groups and public speaking in fields like acting, teaching, broadcasting, improv, and tourism. We're ideally looking for an orator with an interest in science who wants to learn about the history, astronomy, architecture, and landscape design of Yerkes Observatory.

About Yerkes Observatory

Yerkes is known globally as the birthplace of modern astrophysics and remains the home to the world’s largest refracting telescope. Since 1897, an impressive list of noteworthy science luminaries have worked and studied here. This list includes Edwin Hubble, Gerard Kuiper, Carl Sagan, Nancy Grace Roman (NASA’s first Chief of Astronomy and the namesake of NASA’s next space telescope), and Nobel Prize winners Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar and Gerhard Herzberg. Albert Einstein, who put Yerkes high on his must-see list for his first trip to the United States, visited in 1921.

Located on Wisconsin’s Geneva Lake in an elaborate Romanesque and Beaux Arts masterpiece, Yerkes Observatory opened to the public for the first time in 2022. It is roughly an hour each from metro Chicago, Milwaukee, and Madison. It is within 75 miles of a population of 11 million potential visitors. The historic Observatory, which rests amid fifty acres of grounds designed by the legendary Olmsted firm, was recently designated a certified arboretum. Like the building and telescopes, the grounds are undergoing renewal, restoration, and rehabilitation.

In 2020, Yerkes Future Foundation (YFF) assumed long-term stewardship from the University of Chicago for preserving and restoring the Yerkes Observatory and its landscape. The Wisconsin-based foundation is currently leading an initial $30M campaign to restore and build the staff and programs. Future fundraising is planned for operations, endowment, and program growth. A significant portion of the initial $30M goal has already been raised. Restoration and major construction work on the site has been underway since mid-2020.

The goal of YFF is to ensure Yerkes continues to advance astronomy while transforming the Observatory and its grounds into a destination for science and discovery. The mission is to create a distinctive and singular experience where science, ecology, culture, arts, and curiosity cross-pollinate in novel and unique ways. Yerkes will be a national leader in growing the public’s understanding of and engagement with science by conducting astronomical research, building accessible hiking trails, presenting public talks by science luminaries and cultural influencers, offering school programs, hosting nighttime star parties, and more.

Yerkes Future Foundation is committed to advancing diversity in the sciences and in employment. YFF does not discriminate in its hiring or employment practices. We encourage and actively solicit applications from diverse candidates.

Job Type: Part-time

Pay: $22.00 - $25.00 per hour


  • Employee discount
  • Paid time off


  • Weekend availability

Ability to commute/relocate:

  • Williams Bay, WI 53191: Reliably commute or planning to relocate before starting work (Required)

Work Location: One location