Children’s Museum Jobs
This is not your grandfather’s museum! The bustle, excitement, shrieks or joy and general chaos in a modern children’s museum would not be permitted back in the day.
A revolution in thinking occurred in the 1960’s and later about the best way to engage kids in learning. Today, exploration and doing are the watchwords, not viewing and listening. And about 30 million visits are recorded each year at children’s museums.
If noise drives you up a wall, don’t even think about working here. But if you like kids and can put up with childish things, this may be your place.
Children’s museums are different from other museums in that the focus is on the children who visit, not the objects or exhibits the museum offers. They are different too in that kids and families return often – a sizeable percentage make the trip to the local museum every week! Kids do not need new exhibits and different programs to pull them back for another visit, they can re-experience their old favorite exhibits and enjoy them in new ways.
The staff at a children’s museum tend to be focused on children and providing service for them. Most children’s museums don’t have collections, so no curator jobs, conservators, or archivist jobs. Many have only a few people repairing exhibits, unlike science museums. Many staff positions are for educators – people who work directly with kids and families or who design programs for them.
The experience of working for a children’s museum can be richly rewarding. And, noisy.
The organization in the US that provides the best information on children’s museums is the Association of Children’s Museums. They sponsor an annual meeting that is well attended and provides opportunities to meet staff of museums informally as well as in conference sessions. In Europe the children’s museum association is Hands-on Europe. Both provide listings of job openings – at least for jobs that require a national or international search. But also check local media for museums of particular interest.
If you haven’t been to a children’s museum, go visit one. The two sites above can help you make contact with one. If none is close to you, don’t worry. Soon one will be: children’s museums are popping up like dandelions.