-2.9 C
New York
Sunday, January 16, 2022

Buy now

A Life at the Museum: Exploring Types of Museum Careers

Within the 2006 movie Night time on the Museum, Ben Stiller performs a person employed to be the night time watchman on the American Museum of Pure Historical past in New York Metropolis. What he assumes might be a boring shift of guarding fossils turns into an journey when all the museum involves life after darkish. As an alternative of passing the hours watching tv and ensuring no person breaks into the museum, he finds himself working from dinosaur skeletons and having conversations with Theodore Roosevelt.

Whereas precise museum careers don’t contain historical Egyptian magic or wild nighttime adventures, the fact of working in a museum is commonly simply as thrilling. All kinds of museum careers imply working in stimulating, enriching environments the place you possibly can flip your ardour for artwork, historical past, music, and tradition right into a significant profession.

See more: Working in a museum qualifications

People thinking about pursuing museum careers should begin by creating the information they’ll have to be profitable. Finishing a web-based diploma, corresponding to a web-based bachelor’s diploma in historical past, can present graduates with the instruments and expertise they might want to pursue jobs on this discipline.

Life in a museum

Information from the Institute of Museum and Library Providers suggests greater than 35,000 museums function within the U.S. This consists of many various kinds of establishments: historical past museums, planetariums, botanical gardens, zoos, aquariums, science museums, and extra. The frequent thread that ties them collectively is training. All museums search to coach the general public a few particular space of information, whether or not that’s the plight of endangered animals at a zoo or the best way mild travels via the universe at a planetarium.

Museums have turn into extra than simply academic buildings. They’re main vacationer attracts, contributing greater than $50 billion to the U.S. economic system annually, in response to the American Alliance of Museums. Museums are among the many most well-known landmarks within the U.S. and overseas. Consider the sprawling complicated of the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C., the enduring design of the Louvre in Paris, or the structure of the Guggenheim in New York Metropolis. They’re establishments within the truest sense of the phrase, drawing hundreds of thousands of tourists annually, with substantial monetary backing to run outreach applications, purchase new items, and broaden their affect.

Museums do not need to be huge to attract guests and have an effect, nonetheless. A neighborhood museum showcasing small city Maine’s historical past within the lobster commerce and an automotive museum in Philadelphia exploring the historical past of automobile manufacturing, for instance, are additionally related, thrilling, and academic. Museums of all sizes require staff who’re passionate a few particular topic space and wish to impart their information to others.

Sorts of museum careers

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) labored in varied capacities on the nation’s museums. Though quite a few kinds of museum careers exist, the 5 hottest positions are curator, archivist, tour information, outreach director, and volunteer.


Museum curators are answerable for sustaining half or all of a museum’s assortment. They will promote or purchase new items, determine what to retailer and what to show, and set the museum’s tone by choosing totally different exhibition designs and themes. Curators will need to have deep information of their space and may assist with outreach and public relations.


Archivists assist protect and keep paperwork, information, and different artifacts. They might use totally different methods, corresponding to restoration, or protect items in specialised storage vaults or humidified rooms. Archivists usually deal with delicate paperwork or art work, serving to to find out if they’re prepared for show in addition to their situation. Archivists handle archives utilizing spreadsheets and different organizational instruments.

Tour Information

Tour guides are sometimes essentially the most direct expression of a museum’s essential purpose: to coach. They present guests round museums; reply questions; and supply particular information about objects, historic intervals, and exhibitions. Tour guides will need to have nice individuals expertise and the flexibility to retain a whole lot of data, providing it up as guests ask questions.

Outreach Director

Outreach administrators are the connection between museums and the general public. These professionals usually play a big position in attracting funding and common assist for a museum. Outreach administrators can organize for varsity excursions or ship museum representatives to the faculties themselves. They might additionally meet with potential donors to promote them on the deserves of their establishment or plan fundraising occasions.


Volunteers fill many alternative roles at museums. They will function tour guides and docents, work within the guests facilities as greeters, assist with upkeep, or act as informational hosts for exhibitions. Many museums depend on volunteer staff, who usually get pleasure from perks corresponding to complimentary parking and free visits to particular exhibitions round city.

Museum profession salaries and job development

The BLS notes that as of Could 2019 the median annual wage for museum archivists, curators, and different kinds of museum staff was $49,850. Earners within the backside tenth percentile made $28,330 per yr, whereas these within the prime tenth percentile made greater than $87,760.

The BLS additionally tasks employment to develop by 9% for archivists and by 10% for museum curators between 2018 and 2028. The expansion projections for these positions are quicker than the common for all occupations.

Steps to beginning a profession in a museum

People researching pursue museum careers ought to word that almost all kinds of museum careers require a bachelor’s or grasp’s diploma in a associated discipline. The next sections talk about the most typical steps towards pursuing careers on this discipline.

Earn a bachelor’s diploma

Finishing a bachelor’s diploma in a associated discipline, corresponding to Maryville College’s on-line Bachelor of Arts in Historical past, will equip graduates with the elemental expertise they might want to apply for varied entry-level positions. Bachelor’s diploma applications additionally present graduates with the tutorial groundwork to pursue a complicated diploma.

Achieve real-world expertise

To achieve real-world expertise, undergraduate college students can apply for part-time or volunteer work at native museums. Internship alternatives may be accessible. People who acquire work expertise throughout their training are more likely to get pleasure from enhanced job alternatives after they graduate.

Pursue a complicated diploma

The BLS notes that almost all archivists and curators sometimes want a grasp’s diploma in a associated discipline, corresponding to artwork, historical past, museum research, or archaeology. Graduate applications can usually be accomplished in two to 4 years.

Educate others with a level from Maryville College

Working in a museum, massive or small, means that you can use your ardour to coach and encourage others. Whether or not you have an interest in collaborating with a staff on outreach or working independently in preservation, the suitable training can put together you for a profession in a museum. Discover how Maryville College’s on-line Bachelor of Arts in Historical past can assist you step into considered one of these thrilling roles.

Beneficial Studying

Profession Paths for Graduates with a Historical past Diploma

Meet Sandra Harris: College Library Director

Teachable Moments: What’s in Retailer for the Future Educators of America?


American Alliance of Museums, “Museum Information & Information”

American Alliance of Museums, “10 Profession Suggestions from the First Lady to Lead the Smithsonian Air and Area Museum”

Encyclopaedia Britannica, “Sorts of Museums”

Metropolitan Museum of Artwork, “What Is It Prefer to Work in a Museum Just like the Met?”

The Muse, “What It’s Like Working at a Main Artwork Museum”

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Archivists, Curators, and Museum Employees”

Related Articles

Stay Connected


Latest Articles