Top 9 Careers Working In or With Museums


There are many positions available within universities that work in or with museums, including entry-level positions that allow for career development into older leadership roles. Many positions require relevant training that enables them to provide interesting and informative presentations about the exhibits and their historical or social significance. In this article, we explore some common career paths within the museum industry.

Some roles in museums require specialized education and training to acquire skills and techniques commonly used on the job. Here are nine of the best careers in museums, from entry-level positions to institutional management positions:

  1. Touristic guide
  2. Membership coordinator
  3. Clerk
  4. Head of Volunteer Services
  5. Outreach coordinator
  6. Educational coordinator
  7. Archivist
  8. Conservative
  9. Director

1. Tourist guide

National average salary: $ 14.09 per hour

Main duties : Also known as the “docent,” museum tour guides walk clients through a museum and provide information about exhibits. They are well acquainted with the history, context, impact and importance of the objects in the museum. They use their customer service, communication, and cognitive skills to present the facts in a clear and concise manner that is also engaging to their audience of museum guests. Some may also work in the museum shop and information desk.

Conditions: These museum professionals may have advanced training related to the specialty of the museum, such as fine arts, history, anthropology, science, or other fields. Some may get a job without having completed higher education but with a broad knowledge of the museum’s specialty. Others may have customer service, public speaking or performance backgrounds that make them desirable candidates that some museums are willing to train by providing the information and scripts to follow on tours. .

Companies occupying this position:

  • duke university
  • Queen mary
  • Museum of the City of New York

2. Membership coordinator

National average salary: $ 14.30 per hour

Main duties : This position involves interacting directly with frequent patrons, often those who donate to the museum. Membership coordinators develop strategies to make donor and member benefits more attractive to increase funding. In addition, they can also help plan fundraising events, collaborate on marketing initiatives to attract customers, and often perform a variety of administrative tasks including answering customer questions about members and managing accounts and profiles.

Conditions: Some candidates may obtain employment with a high school diploma or GED and experience in customer service, administrative, museum or other. Employers may prefer applicants with an associate’s or bachelor’s degree, which can be obtained in fields such as business, public relations, communications, or another discipline.

Companies occupying this position:

  • Audubon Institute
  • Miami University
  • California state university

3. Registrar

National average salary: $ 15.56 per hour

Main duties : Clerks, also known as “museum technicians” or “collection specialists”, manage the internal and external movements of museum exhibits. They often help coordinate shipping to and from the museum, securing items on display in storage and procuring them from storage. They may also work with the museum director and curators to negotiate rental terms for certain exhibits as loans from personal collections, institutions, or other museums. They often use calendar management and communication to ensure that movers and other staff are prepared to properly manage and receive exhibits. Registrars aim to keep all museum exhibits safe and in quality condition.

Conditions: Many employers require registrars to hold a bachelor’s degree in a relevant field related to the museum, such as fine art, history, archeology, or some other discipline. Degrees or courses in business or communications can also provide these candidates with a job with invaluable skills. They should also be familiar with national and international guidelines on ethics and the procurement and safety of artifacts, which some may learn on the job.

Companies occupying this position:

  • University of California, Irvine
  • Central Intelligence Agency
  • The J. Paul Getty Trust

4. Manager of Volunteer Services

National average salary: $ 15.63 per hour

Main duties : The Volunteer Services Manager is in charge of administrative and organizational tasks related to the selection and training of museum volunteers. They can write job announcements, review applications, interview potential volunteer candidates, create training materials, and coordinate training sessions with curators, tour guides and other museum professionals.

Conditions: Many employers prefer applicants to have a bachelor’s degree in a relevant field and years of experience in administrative, public outreach, nonprofit, or museum roles.

Companies occupying this position:

  • McWane Science Center
  • The New York Botanical Garden
  • University of California, Riverside

5. Outreach coordinator

National average salary: $ 43,851 per year

Main duties : This professional is often responsible for marketing and public relations initiatives that attract clients and members. Outreach Coordinators can work with other museum professionals to plan special promotions and create publicity and media engagement about an upcoming event or new exhibit.

Conditions: Many employers may require a bachelor’s degree in communications, commerce, public relations, marketing, nonprofit administration, or other relevant discipline. Writing, creative thinking, campaign planning, and social media skills can often help these professionals excel in their roles.

Companies occupying this position:

  • Erie County Historical Society
  • Utah State University
  • Coulis museum district

6. Education coordinator

National average salary: $ 46,399 per year

Main duties : An education coordinator develops and plans educational events for a museum, such as seminars, conferences, guest speakers, patronage events, and school programs. They also perform various administrative and event planning tasks, such as coordinating equipment, communicating with visiting researchers, and planning.

Conditions: These professionals may be required to hold a bachelor’s degree in a discipline relevant to the museum’s purpose and mission, especially those in STEM fields. Some may obtain education degrees to develop skills in program planning and learner engagement. More advanced positions may require a master’s or doctoral degree in a relevant discipline, which can also increase a candidate’s earning potential and lead to more advanced leadership responsibilities.

Companies occupying this position:

  • The Recording Academy
  • Oakland University
  • Museum of Arts and Design

7. Archivist

National average salary: $ 50,823 per year

Main duties : Museum archivists are experts in their field who work with a museum or educational institute to determine the value, history, relevance, and other factors of an artefact or exhibit. They create and enforce safety rules regarding the preservation and use of exhibit materials to ensure that these important items retain their value. In addition, they can also help curators and other museum professionals research and catalog objects within the museum in order to keep accurate and up-to-date records of coming and going exhibits.

Conditions: These professionals are often required to have at least a master’s degree in a relevant discipline, while many choose to pursue doctorates. During their studies and subsequent professional experience, they usually specialize in a discipline and have a sub-specialty, such as a particular region, era or artistic or historical figure. Some can demonstrate their expertise with years of fieldwork, educational experience, research and publications.

Companies occupying this position:

  • Arlington County
  • Philander Smith College
  • Texas State Library and Archives Commission

8. Conservative

National average salary: $ 53,161 per year

Main duties : Curators head a specific section of the museum and are responsible for the organization, presentation, preservation and programming of the exhibits in that section. Many fields lead in their academic discipline and serve as experts on the history, relevance and other educational elements of museum exhibits.

They frequently collaborate with the museum director as well as with education coordinators, outreach professionals and academic colleagues to select and market exhibits to clients. They can also help with research initiatives funded by or which have an impact on the museum and its artefacts.

Conditions: These professionals are often required to have at least a master’s degree with a specialty that serves as their scientific focus. Many get jobs with doctorates, years of fieldwork, relevant research and publications, and teaching experience. Some move into these positions after holding university professorships or other positions focused on education and buying exhibits within a museum, often with the intention of becoming a museum director.

Companies occupying this position:

  • Ukiah City
  • US Navy
  • State of Wisconsin

9. Director

National average salary: $ 81,206 per year

Main duties : These professionals are often the museum’s chief curators, responsible for programming, education, exhibition sourcing, and other aspects of the museum as a whole. They frequently collaborate with section curators, education coordinators, registrars and other museum professionals to determine best practices for attracting patrons, attracting members, and promoting the museum’s educational mission.

Conditions: Most administrators are required to have at least a master’s degree, although many have a doctorate in a relevant field, significant research and educational experience in their subspecialty, and some curatorial experience.

Companies occupying this position:

  • Northwestern Florida State College
  • Smithsonian Institution
  • University of Utah
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