10 Top Jobs in Fine Art Museums
Not all art museum jobs require an MFA
A large art museum is like a mini-society with various levels and functions of staff members who work hard behind the scenes to ensure that visitors have a memorable cultural experience.
Art enthusiasts interested in being a part of this world should start by being aware of the various positions available. Here's a look at the top ten art jobs offered in most art museums around the world.
Art Museum Archivists
A museum archivist is responsible for the archival collection housed in the museum.
Back in the 20th century, archiving was achieved by categorizing items on index cards. Modern technology now allows archiving to be done in every state-of-the-art museum's cataloging database.
Art Museum Associate Curators
A small museum has very different needs than a large institution. Depending on the size of the museum, there will be varying levels of curators from assistant curator to the chief curator. Art history degrees are usually mandatory for these positions.
Art Museum Technicians
Art museum technicians are instrumental during the crucial installation phase of an exhibition. Exhibits can vary in size from one-room exhibits at small museums to large exhibitions (by a famed artist) that take over the entire institution. The size of the museum will determine the size of the technician staff. If necessary, a small museum will bring in extra freelance technicians to assist with an exhibit's installation.
Skills required to be an art museum technician include experience with lighting design, electrical work, computer and digital media setup, and the ability to handle any technical or maintenance problem that might arise.
Art Museum Education Department Staff
The education department of an art museum functions like the museum's backbone. This department provides community outreach and programming for children and adults. Staffers design school tours and interactive programs and also function as docents who give guided tours and talks.
Art Museum Marketing Department Staff
A museum's marketing department is tasked with working on the museum's promotion, sales, sponsorship, and all ancillary marketing campaigns. These staffers include marketing professionals, writers, and graphic designers.
Art Museum Development Department Staff
The development department of an art museum works on fundraising which, along with membership fees, keeps the museum afloat. Staff members take part in grant writing and procuring sponsorship from private and corporate donors.
Museum Art Handlers
Museum art handlers are employees that drive trucks and load and unload heavy boxes. These are desirable positions for people looking for flexible work.
Art Museum Conservators
This is one of the most important positions at any art museum because all artwork must be preserved. Conservators work in-house to repair damaged artwork and to prevent artwork from being damaged.
Art Museum Press Department
Depending on the size of the museum, the press department ranges in size from a one-person to a 20-person shop. Duties include writing and distributing press releases, organizing press conferences, and editing and writing catalogs for the museum's collection and exhibitions.
Art Museum Director
The art museum director is the equivalent of a corporation's CEO. The person who holds this spot has a career that combines management, leadership, and curatorial vision.
The Association of Art Museum Directors defines an art museum director as one who "provides conceptual leadership through specialized knowledge of the discipline of the museum; responsible for policy-making and funding (with the governing board), planning, organizing, staffing, and directing activities."