Museums and Galleries

Jobs exist at many levels and in many areas in the museums and galleries sector:

  • With a relevant degree (and perhaps a postgraduate qualification in Museum Studies) you could be a curator.
  • A history degree will be a bonus if you are applying for an administrative position, though ideally you should also get some administrative experience and develop relevant skills, such as IT.
  • The education section of museums and galleries will be looking for graduates with teacher training and experience, but there will be a range of other roles that don't require a degree to suit people who may have other qualifications. Watch our Careers with history interview with Lynne Minett, Head of Learning at the National Railway Museum.

In the art world, conservation opportunities also exist, but there are very specific degree routes for these, as practical skills need to be learned.

Jobs which do not require a degree and which may offer a chance for learning on the job will be things like information assistants, box office attendants, shop and café staff. People with practical skills like carpentry will be needed in the exhibitions department; those with graphic design skills may also be needed here, and in the production of leaflets etc. Large museums in cities and busy tourist areas (including Open Air museums and visitor attractions with a strong historical element) may also have jobs for costumed ‘living history' re-enacters, though these may well be only seasonal.

A good site to visit is Museum to get an idea of the range of museum jobs on offer (in the UK and abroad). You could check out details of jobs though the specialist advertiser is the Museums Journal. The Museums and Galleries Yearbook is also a good resource to help you identify over 2,500 potential employers! Also visit the websites of individual major museums, which often have a ‘vacancies' section.

Work Experience and volunteering opportunities

Most of the major museums offer these – for work experience contact the Human Resources Department, for volunteering the Volunteer Co-ordinator, or check out their websites. Smaller museums often SURVIVE through the input of volunteers why not approach one you already know and visit directly, and offer your services?

See also our page on Museums and Galleries Continuing Professional Development

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