A Career in Museums?

As a child I envied my peers who knew what they wanted to be when they grew up. You know the type – Firefighter. Teacher. Doctor. Nurse. Mime. I remember thinking, I have no idea what I want to be when I grow up. 

Since then I have discovered that I love working in museums. I enjoy engaging visitors and making museum collections accessible. Every day something new is going on – a new program to design, a new project to research, a new volunteer to train – I don’t remember the last time I was ever bored!

Recently I had the opportunity to help represent the field of museums at a high school career fair. Eager students flooded a gym set up with about fifty different exhibitors, with career fields ranging from dance to pharmacy to funeral home management and beyond. There was a wonderful turnout by both local organizations and interested students. It was great to talk with students about what they were interested in studying at college and potentially pursuing as a career.The day was energizing a number of ways. Often students asked what they could do to prepare themselves for potentially working in the field. Our answer? Visit museums. Volunteer. Intern, etc. Exploring a career in museums comes with its share of challenges – as does any number of professions these days. As an emerging professional almost done with graduate school, talking with these high school students was refreshing and reminded me of when I first began considering a career path in the museum world! Their ideas and curiosity about the field made the morning and afternoon fly.

When did you first start to consider your career? Are you pursuing what you thought you wanted to be “when you grow up?”

ISM represented the field of museums at a high school career fair. We had the subcategory of "archeology" as well - although this is just one aspect of the expertise on staff!

ISM represented the field of museums at a high school career fair. We had the subcategory of “archaeology” as well – although this is just one aspect of the expertise on staff!

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2 thoughts on “A Career in Museums?

  1. Nicholas says:

    I’m glad you were out promoting the field! It’s always great to keep kids interested in museums. Whenever I get asked about pursuing a museum career, (it’s rare, but still) I like to tell them to take some business courses. I know because I work in development it’s imperative for me, but I truly believe that every position within a museum can benefit from a strong business background. It can really benefit the whole museum! Were there many kids interested in museum stuff?

  2. samantha says:

    There were several students who were interested – which was great. Many of the classes had a worksheet that they need to complete too – so they had to go booth to booth asking specific questions, etc. It was an assignment that encouraged them to engage the different organizations, which was great. Lots of good questions!

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