Re: Museum careers

Peggy Hall (
6 Sep 1995 05:25:55 GMT

Karen Elizabeth Topping ( wrote:

: Hi. I have been considering a career in museum work. I would like
: to be involved in conceptual development of exhibits - especially culturally
: related ones. It has been difficult to find out anything substantive about
: museum programs either by themselves or as a part of anthro dept. If anyone
: has any information on these programs I would really appreciate it. Also, I
: am looking into internships as a way to figure out if I like the field before
: committing to two year and debt, but I have had mixed responses on how and if
: to get them. Thank you to anyone who can help.

I've been a volunteer at 5 museums (over a period of about 10 years). It
has been my experience that the type of job you are interested in has not
been a job category at the museums I've worked for. Several of these
museums have workshops where things are built. The people in the
workshops do a variety of jobs in a variety of fields. The people they
work for are the experts in the individual fields. Several of the
experts I worked for were PhD's who taught at local universities and
spent part of their time working at the museum. The concepts were
developed by the experts in the field working with artists and builders
or the people in the workshops.

Perhaps the Smithsonian has a job category like you mentioned. Perhaps a
Museum of Anthropology would have such a position available. Here in Phoenix
we have the Heard Museum. It is specifically for the southwest Indian
cultures. You might try writing to such places to see what type of
programs they have.

I asked about docent programs at the local art museum. They wanted
graduates with majors in the fields of study just to do volunteer work.

I once worked for a "display and exhibit" company in Los Angeles. This
company was responsible for maintaining one of the exhibits at the
Science and Technology museum. The company also did the design of the
displays based on what message the exhibitor wanted to express.

How about conducting an informal survey on the internet ? You could
contact anthropology departments across the country.