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Museum work: Put your skills on exhibit

Museums focus as much on providing an experience as on presenting objects. Learn about the workers who use their skills to oversee a museum’s collections, design its exhibits, and educate its visitors.

When Pam Hatchfield goes to work, she’s helping to preserve a little piece of history for generations to come. Hatchfield, a conservator, is one of many who make a living in the museum industry. A museum hires workers in a variety of occupations to help share its treasures with the public.

BLS data show that workers in the museum industry had a median annual wage of $27,456 in May 2008, less than the annual median of $32,390 for all U.S. workers. Still, competition for jobs remains fierce because of the attraction many have to the work.

This article explores that attraction, revealing why people enjoy working in museums and what their career options are. The first section describes the museum industry. The second section talks about three categories of museum work: collections management and care, exhibit design, and education. Other sections describe museum occupations and the skills, training, and experience workers need to do their jobs. A final section suggests sources for finding more information.

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U.S. Department of Labor
Bureau of Labor Statistics

Last Updated: September 29, 2010