Museums and Cultural Centers Careers Outlook
The Occupational Outlook Handbook reports that employment of archivists, curators, museum technicians, and conservators is expected to increase about as fast as the average for all occupations through 2014. As museums focus on education and service to the community, public programs and education staff are likely to be somewhat protected. On the other hand, positions such as curators and exhibit designers may be less secure as museums replace full-time, permanent workers with contract or temporary workers. Museums and other cultural institutions are often subject to funding cuts during recessions or periods of budget tightening. Institution-wide salary freezes and hiring freezes are already occurring in some institutions.
There is strong competition for jobs as archivists, curators, museum technicians, and conservators because the number of qualified applicants is far greater than the number of job openings. Prime archivist jobs will go to graduates with highly specialized training, such as master’s degrees in both library science and history, with a concentration in archives or records management and extensive computer skills. Those interested in curator positions may have to work part time as interns, volunteer assistant curators, or research associates after completing their formal education. Substantial work experience in collection management, exhibit design, or restoration, as well as database management skills, will be necessary for permanent status. Job opportunities for curators should be best in art and history museums, the largest employers in the museum industry.
In order to accurately represent different cultures, museums are actively recruiting people from minority, indigenous, and ethnic populations to work in a variety of museum functions, including as curators, technicians, educators, designers, and accountants.
Museum building has not stopped, but it is being pursued more conservatively than in the past, with a primary focus on children’s museums and discovery centers. These museums usually do not have permanent collections, and therefore avoid the operating and personnel costs of managing a collection. With constricted resources, museums and cultural centers are focusing more closely on the needs of the communities they serve and their own roles in that community.
Related Career Fields:
- Book Conservators
- College Professors
- Conservators and Conservation Technicians
- Education Directors and Museum Teachers
- Exhibit Designers
- Grant Coordinators and Writers
- Museum Attendants
- Museum Directors and Curators
- Museum Technicians
- Public Relations Specialists
- Research Assistants
- Teacher Aides
- Tour Guides
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