Sergey Viktorovich: “The owner of our business left me no choice…”
Director of the museum “Shustov” Sergey Viktorovich spoke about how he motivates his employees, for which famous and respected people he personally conducted excursions and how they instill a culture of drinking in Odessa residents and guests of the city.
1. Sergey Viktorovich, are you a strict director? How do you motivate museum staff?
Yes, I am strict. Strict but fair. I motivate employees with bonuses and, if one of the employees needs to leave for their personal and important business, I always go forward.
2. Does it happen that you personally conduct a tour for famous guests?
Yes, sometimes. I personally conducted excursions for the former President of Moldova, ex-governor of the Odessa region Mikhail Saakashvili, musician Oleg Skripka and many other prominent personalities.
3. Recently, the festival “Fashion and Style Opera Classic” was held in the Shustov Museum. Is this the first time models have paraded around heady scents?
No, we had a very bright event last year – we changed the label on the bottle and we had a show from Andre Tan and many other Ukrainian designers. The event was attended by 350 guests. We often host all sorts of fashion events, shows, competitions.
4. The museum has been open to visitors for more than three years. What do you consider your main achievement so far?
We are visited by about 35 thousand people a year, respectively, over 3 years our museum was visited by more than 100 thousand people. And they all learned how to drink cognac correctly and what kind. Many people do not know what cognac is, what it is made from and how to use it correctly. An hour and a half tour radically changes people’s perception of this drink. We instill in people a kind of culture of drinking.
5. I know that among the large collection of cognacs there is also a bottle that was bottled in 1900 and, presumably, it contains exactly the cognac that was presented at the exhibition in Paris. How carefully are such valuable exhibits protected?
This bottle is in a glazed armored display case, so it is unlikely that anyone will be able to carry it away (laughs). In general, we have about two hundred bottles of old cognacs and each bottle is estimated at 300 euros. These exhibits were produced by the Odessa Cognac Factory in the 60s and 70s of the 20th century. Of the modern cognacs that you can buy, there are 40-year-old cognacs and various limited ones, which I personally deal with, as well as their development and production.
6. Being the director of a museum, and even more so of a cognac one, is very responsible. After all, this position combines the skills of a historian, guide, organizer of the work process. How long did you think before taking this position?
The owner of our business left me no choice (smiles).
7. Odessa is an international and tourist city. What languages are the museum tours in?
Tours in our museum are held in Russian, Ukrainian, English and German. The French and the Dutch often come to us and they understand that they have no choice, so they immediately take an interpreter with them.
8. The year has just begun. Open the curtain on the planned events at the museum this year?
We do not have a strict plan for the year. We cooperate with many people, firms. We have been known for a long time and when, from time to time, a unique location is needed, they communicate with us. We solve everything as it comes. It often happens that we simply do not have time to change posters. We are open to cooperation, we have all areas for rent, from one hall to the museum as a whole. The main thing is that everything should be decent and without any vulgarity.
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