Educate Yourself About Museums – Training, Education, Conferences


Each of the national museum associations holds annual conferences and other training workshops throughout the year.
Check their website for professional training opportunities.

Regional and state museum associations also hold conferences and training. Some city-wide cultural organizations do the same. Any of these can give you a more solid understanding of museum operations and inside information on what is happening in the museum world.

The AAM (American Association of Museums) offers career counseling at its annual meetings. They include sessions on resume writing and “starting your museum career.”  You can also talk to mentors in arranged sessions (as well as informally meet experienced museum people at the conference). A good first step in learning more about museums would be to join the AAM.

Many universities and larger museums offer classes, certificate programs, and even degrees in museumology, museum studies, and related fields.

Degree programs and workshops

Know what you want to do in your career before you start looking at programs. You could waste a lot of time and money taking classes in things you aren’t interested in just because they are included in someone’s curriculum. If you want to manage or direct museums, business classes or even MBA programs might be a better ticket.
If you want to be a development officer for a museum, search for classes and programs in non-profit fund raising rather than in museum studies.

For exhibits design, construction, and repair, strong trade skills coupled with museum experience and reading provide the best background. There are several good books on exhibit design for museums – these are quick reads that will help you immeasurably. Check out the bookstore at the Association of Science-Technology Centers.

If you see a zoo job in your future, check out the professional development courses offered through the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.

Here are three listings of university programs in museum studies:  

A calendar of museum training programs

Smithsonian offers a variety of training programs listed on their site

Several colleges offer degrees or courses in museum studies or in particular topics of museumology. Check your local university’s list of majors and courses.

Conservation practices training opportunities are found here and at

For information on archivists and on schools offering courses in archival studies, contact:

Society of American Archivists, Information about certification for archivists is given at:

For general information about careers as a curator and for information on schools offering courses in museum studies, contact:

American Association of Museums.

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