Museum Jobs

Woman seated in a museum exhibit

Are you curious about what museum jobs are within reach with your humanities / liberal arts degree? There are a range of positions available in this field at all levels (curatorial assistant, education manager, museum registrar, collections management, etc).

Click on any of the topics in the menu below to learn more about typical responsibilities, necessary skills, general salary information, and other resources.

 

(Not interested in Museum jobs? Check out the Career Resources page to browse other interesting job titles and info!)

Why would this field appeal to someone with a humanities / liberal arts degree?

Museum jobs will be of particular interest to anyone with area studies degrees, anthropology, history, or related fields. While many may believe this work is out of reach without a Museum Studies degree, the reality is that a variety of jobs will not have explicitly require this degree. Read the Responsibilities section below to learn more about positions such as collections manager, assistant curator, digital exhibit development, and others. Read the Skills sections for more information on what skills or degree requirements are typical.

Most of the entry-level and mid-career positions will not require a specific degree. Read through the “Necessary Skills” section for more.

What types of jobs are available in museums without a museum studies degree?

See the following examples of jobs within museums that will not always explicitly require a museum studies degree along with basic responsibilities:

Assistant Registrar

  • Planning and implementing loans for collections and exhibits

Associate Curator

  • Propose, research, and organize exhibitions. 
  • Research and catalogue collections.
  • Supervise members of the department include interns and volunteers.
  • Pursue, research, write, and justify new acquisitions.
  • Assist with fundraising and cultivate donors. 
  • Manage department budget and other administrative duties.

Community Engagement Manager

  • Create and lead programming for specific visitor groups (ex. Students, seniors, historians, etc); oversee on-site and outreach programs.
  • Possibly supervise and train other staff or volunteers.
  • Collaborate with other departments on programming and marketing materials.

Museum Educator, Tour Guide, or Similar Titles

  • Development, coordination, and delivery of programs.
  • Development, coordination, and delivery of programs. This can include educational programs or tours.
  • Organize adult, family, and youth programs.
  • Work with instructional staff to develop a curriculum and pre-/post-visit preparations.
    What does this work involve?

    We listed a number of possible job titles in the section above. Responsibilities will vary by position, museum, region, and other factors. However, the following fundamental skills will generally apply:

    Assistant registrar

    • Help prepare exhibit budgets and expenditure tracking.
    • Assist with crating, shipping, and tracking exhibits.
    • Assist with installation & deinstallation.
    • Maintain the department files.
    • Coordinate and distribute paperwork to lenders.
    • BA in Art History – or related field – or equivalent professional experience.

    Associate Curator

    • Master’s degree or PhD in the relevant field or comparable experience.
    • Familiarity with collections management databases.
    • Ability to work collaborative both within and outside the institution; excellent interpersonal and communications skills. 
    • Working proficiency in administrative tools and platforms.
    • Management experience.
    • Budgeting experience. 

    Community Engagement Manager

    • Bachelor’s degree
    • Strong pedagogical training or experience teaching different audiences. 
    • Ability to manage staff, foster teamwork, and follow the museum’s strategic plan.
    • Program management experience.
    • Customer-oriented (working with the public)

    Museum Educator, Tour Guide, or Similar Titles

    • Bachelor’s degree – History, Museum Studies, Education, or related.
    • Experience teaching or running educational programs.
    • Ability to handle multiple tasks.
    • Excellent communications and interpersonal skills.
    • Familiarity with administrative platforms.
    Necessary skills

    Relevant skills will vary by position but may include:

    • Bachelor’s degree. Some job postings may specifically call out degrees in Marketing, Business, English, Journalism, or Communications.
    • Experience as a copywriter / writing skills
    • Experience in development, grant writing, or related
    • Strong interpersonal and presentation skills
    • Familiarity with donor databases and other CRM platforms
    • Proven track record of building successful relationships
    • Grant writing experience
    • Experience with planning long-term campaigns
    • Research skills (for looking into grants and conducting prospect research)
    • Familiarity with grant databases
    • Strong organizational skills
    • Experience developing budgets
    • Experience producing reports
    • Strong project management and time management skills

    Should I pursue certification?

    Becoming a grant writer or working in development do not require certification. Obtaining an additional credential or completing an online course would not harm your application, though. There are a number of courses online available.

    Salary information

    Salary will vary by position, organization, region, and other factors. Here are a few examples from different job titles and seniority levels according to Glassdoor.com:

    Museum Educator, Tour Guide, or Similar Titles

    National average: $39,946 (range of $28,000 to $58,000)

    Assistant Registrar

    National average: $57,311 (range of $37,000 to $88,000)

    Community Engagement Manager

    National average: $61,225 (range of $38,000 to $98,000)

    Associate Curator

    National average: $71,548 (range of $50,000 to $103,000)

    Where can I search for museum jobs?
    • The American Alliance of Museums has an excellent site with a variety of resources including a job board.
    • Many historical and cultural institutions are owned by states and you will actually find museum jobs posted on your state’s career page. For example, here is the Career page for the state of Illinois. You will find announcements for these centers such as Exhibit Interpreter, Curator, Digital Exhibit Development, etc. 
    • We also recommend checking your city’s career site. Here, for example, the City of Chicago jobs page. It isn’t unusual to find posts looking for a graphic artist, artist for an exhibit hosted by the city, curator for airport exhibits, etc.
    • The federal government will also post jobs in the cultural sector or federally-managed institutions. We recommend searching through USAJobs.gov for these opportunities as well.