Museum Technician Jobs
Museums require a great deal of work, care, and precision, and can only be run effectively through the combined efforts of qualified individuals at various levels. Museum technicians are responsible for the various everyday tasks that help curators and other administrative officials keep the museum running smoothly.
Through setting up exhibits and maintaining collections, museum technicians are a vital piece of the museum puzzle.
Most museum technicians work for museums, educational institutions, historical sites, and/or for the federal, state, and local governments. Museum technicians specializing in archaeology are generally responsible for the care, cataloging, preservation, and exhibition of archaeological collections. In addition, some of their tasks may include:
- Assisting in collections management (cataloging, storing, collecting, keeping records)
- Researching and preparing information on museum collections
- Conducting public tours of museums
- Supervising interns and seasonal staff
- Assisting in the development and management of storage areas to ensure safety of collections
- Assisting with cleaning, repairing, and restoring artifacts
- Preparing artifacts for storage and shipping
Education and Training Requirements
In the field of archaeology, museum technicians generally have at least a bachelor’s degree in museum studies, anthropology, history, or public history. Since few universities offer a bachelor’s degree in museum studies, many technicians obtain their degree in archaeology, history, or public history, and obtain a minor in museum studies.
Although classes in museum studies will help you to understand how a museum operates, it is of prime importance to become well-versed in the specialty of your choice. Whether you want to work in an American history museum or in a museum with Greek archaeological collections, building up your knowledge of that specialty is extremely important to snagging a museum job.
Undergraduates are also strongly encouraged to obtain a museum internship while pursuing their studies in order to gain relevant hands-on training. Internships can generally be found through the anthropology of history department of a student’s home institution, as well as through outside institutions, such as the Smithsonian Institution.
Salary and Advancement Opportunities
Depending on experience, location, and employer, museum technicians can expect to earn an average annual salary of approximately $25,000 to $66,000. With increased experience and education, some technicians can advance to become curators. A technician can also increase their chances of advancing by joining museum, archaeological, or historical associations and continuing their education through attending professional workshops and conferences. Find more museum salary research here:
According the Bureau of Labor Statistics, public interest in museums and museum attendance have remained relatively constant over the years. As a result, museums are generally financially stable and will continue to provide employment opportunities for museum staff. Despite this, there are generally more qualified individuals on the market than there are job openings. Competition for museum jobs, therefore, is expected to be significant.
American Association of Museums
Museum Employment Resource Center
For a broader look at museum careers beyond archaeology, check out JobMonkey’s Museum Jobs page.