For people with an interest in all aspects of history, archaeology and antiquities, museum careers are hugely rewarding. Unfortunately, permanent vacancies do not come up very often, meaning the sector can be difficult to get into, even for graduates with specifically related degrees. Yet, owing to the nature of the work and the company culture, a career in the museum sector continues to be much sought-after.
While lockdown has been bad news for museum jobs, what it has taught us is how important museums are and how much people value the cultural insights they provide. Even though museums were closed for a number of months, they took advantage of government investment to create virtual exhibitions that connected visitors with cultural history every day. In March alone, the British Museum had 1.75 million online visits – nearly a third of the total number of visitors who came through its doors during the whole of 2019. The hope is that the virtual museums will generate even greater numbers of people keen to visit the real thing at a later date.
There is clearly going to be a growing demand for IT experts in the museum sector. And, as with the many other roles available, such as administrative, retail and ticketing, these roles will mean that people who do not necessarily have a specialised degree can secure a fulfilling career in the museum sector. The increasing popularity of blockbuster exhibitions, for instance, has attracted millions of visitors from all over the world and generated much-needed income for the host institution. Each exhibition involves extra behind-the-scenes work as a result, and there are administrative, project management, marketing and PR roles available, as well as additional ticketing, retail and catering staff required, alongside front of house staff to manage and entertain the queues.
The museum sector is famously difficult to get into. If you’re interested in a museum career, an effective way of gaining experience is through temporary work placements. Museums need workers who are enthusiastic and knowledgeable about their subject, so we are looking for people who have an interest in, and a passion for, heritage and culture. You also need to be motivated and proactive and have a strong work ethic.
Our temporary roles attract many candidates who are looking for work that fits around their lifestyle, such as students and freelancers.
The best thing is that experience is not necessary – as long as you have the right attitude, we can teach you the rest and put you to work in some of the most culturally significant institutions in the world such as the British Museum and the V&A.
Once you have your foot in the door with temporary work, you will be able to prove yourself. You’ll have the opportunity to show your worth, and you’ll be in the right place to make connections and network with new contacts, putting yourself firmly in the right place at the right time should an opportunity arise.
In fact, we have many examples of temporary staff being offered permanent roles in museums, some of whom have gone on to build hugely successful careers.
Now that museums are opening again, requests for staff are increasing. So if you think a museum career will suit you and would like to try it out for yourself, give us a call to find out more about the temporary roles we have available.