logo
g Text Version
Beauty & Self
Books & Music
Career
Computers
Education
Family
Food & Wine
Health & Fitness
Hobbies & Crafts
Home & Garden
Money
News & Politics
Relationships
Religion & Spirituality
Sports
Travel & Culture
TV & Movies

dailyclick
Bored? Games!
Nutrition
Postcards
Take a Quiz
Rate My Photo

new
European Travel
Action Movies
Bible Basics
Houseplants
Romance Movies
Creativity
Family Travel


dailyclick
All times in EST

Full Schedule
g
g Museums Site

BellaOnline's Museums Editor

g

BOOK REVIEW – Museum Careers, A Practical Guide


Museum Careers: A Practical Guide for Students and Novices by N. Elizabeth Schlatter covers just about every aspect of the field, ranging from the reasons to choose a museum career (and the potential drawbacks) to practical advice and resources for job seekers.

This book is written in a casual, friendly tone that captures the reader from the beginning. It is both engaging and chock full of useful information that you will need when launching your museum career.

Museum Careers is divided into three parts: Museum Work, Museum Jobs, and Preparing For and Gaining Museum Employment. Chapters include Museum Trends Affecting Employment, Finding and Applying for Jobs, and Professional Development and Career Growth, as well as detailed chapters explaining a wide variety of museum positions.

Schlatter begins with an explanation of why she chose museum work, which she calls “an altruistic yet selfish calling.” People become museum professionals for a host of reasons, including a love of objects or museums themselves, an opportunity for lifelong learning, or an engaging and creative work environment.

The drawbacks are well-known in the field, and Schlatter does not shy away from telling it like it is. The first obstacle is, of course, the notoriously low salary. It is important to realize that the benefits of museum work almost never include a fat paycheck, but life isn’t all about money. The workload is often heavy, with mandatory overtime at after hours events and programs. In a post 9/11 economy, many museums have had to cut back to balance budgets, which translates into fewer staff members performing more duties.

I was glad to see Schlatter mention the geographic limitations of museum work as another drawback. I seldom see this referenced, although I am always telling my interns about it. You will almost always have to move to find your ideal museum job. The more limited your geographic search, the fewer opportunities you will find. If you are unwilling to move, plan to spend an even longer period of time searching for employment.

Toward the end of the first chapter, Schlatter reminds her readers that you do not have to be “intimately familiar” with the museum’s specialty, but you should be enthusiastic about it. “A general rule of thumb for museum work is that if you dislike the mission, you’ll hate your job,” she writes.

Schlatter mentions several important trends affecting the profession as a whole, the most important being a shift toward education. “The stereotypical curator of the mid-twentieth century (an overeducated male connoisseur who reveled in his acquisitions, arcane research, and elite insular network of peers) became obsolete,” she says.

Today, curators work as part of a broader team, more closely focused on education – through programming, exhibitions, and outreach.

The center section of the book focuses on detailed descriptions of each position found in the museum profession, divided by Jobs Focused on Objects and/or Exhibitions, Jobs with a Public Focus, and Jobs with an Administrative Focus. Included are the following:

Director
Conservator
Curator
Designer
Exhibition Manager/Developer
Librarian/Archivist
Photographer
Preparator/Art Handler
Registrar/Collections Manager
Development Officer/Membership Manager
Editor
Educator/Volunteer Manager
Information Officer
Marketing Manager/Public Relations Manager
Retail Manager
Security Chief
Visitor Services Manager
Administrator/Finance Officer
Facilities Manager
General Counsel/Attorney
Human Resources Manager
Technology Manager

Each job title is explained in great detail, followed by salary ranges; education, experience, and skills; and resources for job openings specific to that position.

The book’s third and final section focuses on how to prepare yourself for and find a job within the museum field. Schlatter examines undergraduate majors and graduate programs, outlining a wide variety of options ranging from a Master’s of Arts degree to various certificates. She stresses the need to serve as an intern or volunteer as you prepare for your future career.

Schlatter concludes with advice about where to find museum jobs, how to prepare a resume and cover letter, and what to expect during the interview process.

The conclusion of the book, called “Life Outside the Museum,” really struck home with me: “The final tidbit of advice is to remember that life exists outside of the museum, not just the museum you work for but also the industry as a whole. Many people joke that a museum career is not a job, it’s a lifestyle. We spend our free time visiting museums, learning more about our field, reading the latest publications….”

In my own experience, this is absolutely true. A museum career is rewarding and frustrating in many ways, full of both opportunities and challenges. But every day, I can honestly say that I love what I do, and I can think of nothing better I could have done with my life.

I thoroughly recommend Museum Careers to anyone thinking of dabbling in this world. It provides not only a ton of practical advice, but Schlatter is completely honest about every aspect of this career. When I was just starting out, I wish I had had such a wonderful resource at my disposal. It is the most complete book on the museum field I have ever seen.

Buy it! You won’t regret it.


Add BOOK+REVIEW+%96+Museum+Careers%2C+A+Practical+Guide to Twitter Add BOOK+REVIEW+%96+Museum+Careers%2C+A+Practical+Guide to Facebook Add BOOK+REVIEW+%96+Museum+Careers%2C+A+Practical+Guide to MySpace Add BOOK+REVIEW+%96+Museum+Careers%2C+A+Practical+Guide to Del.icio.us Digg BOOK+REVIEW+%96+Museum+Careers%2C+A+Practical+Guide Add BOOK+REVIEW+%96+Museum+Careers%2C+A+Practical+Guide to Yahoo My Web Add BOOK+REVIEW+%96+Museum+Careers%2C+A+Practical+Guide to Google Bookmarks Add BOOK+REVIEW+%96+Museum+Careers%2C+A+Practical+Guide to Stumbleupon Add BOOK+REVIEW+%96+Museum+Careers%2C+A+Practical+Guide to Reddit




Finding Your First Museum Job
So You Want to Be a Curator
Museum Caree Skills -- Developing an Exhibition
RSS
Related Articles
Editor's Picks Articles
Top Ten Articles
Previous Features
Site Map




For FREE email updates, subscribe to the Museums Newsletter


Past Issues


print
Printer Friendly
bookmark
Bookmark
tell friend
Tell a Friend
forum
Forum
email
Email Editor


Content copyright © 2014 by Kim Kenney. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Kim Kenney. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Kim Kenney for details.

g


g features
Building Exhibition Panels

The Benefits of Changing Exhibitions

Using Letters in Exhibitions

Archives | Site Map

forum
Forum
email
Contact

Past Issues
memberscenter


vote
Poetry
Daily
Weekly
Monthly
Less than Monthly



BellaOnline on Facebook
g


| About BellaOnline | Privacy Policy | Advertising | Become an Editor |
Website copyright © 2014 Minerva WebWorks LLC. All rights reserved.


BellaOnline Editor