Re: Careers in Anthropology??

sgf (
20 Sep 1996 04:07:29 GMT

In article <>,
MoonRat <> wrote:
>In article <51nmgu$>,
>allen lutins <> wrote:

>Sigh, i went into Cultural Anthro, what hope is there for me?
>To be more specific, what opportunities exsist for cultural anthro
>students to find jobs in museums? Also, what are the different jobs
>avainlable at your average, oh, say natural history, or history museum?

Speaking as someone with an Anthro BA and by the end of this quarter an
MA in Anthro with a concentration in Museum Studies -- to get a job in a
museum with just a degree in Anthro and no museum experience won't
happen. With a degree in Anthro and lotsa internships/volunteer work,
it's possible. A PhD in Anthro might come in handy when looking for a
curatorial job (a great number of museums won't hire curators without a
PhD in the area they'd be curating), but you'd still *have* to have some
sort of museum experience. If you want to start looking into the
possibility of museum work, you might want to check out, which is the USENET echo of the MUSEUM-L mailing
list, to get an idea of the current topics and interests in the field
(I'd give you the listserv address, but I don't have it handy).

If you want to *do* anthropology, the museum world probably will not give
you many opportunities -- sure, people say they want to be curators to do
research on the collections, but in reality about 95% of the curator's
time is taken up with other stuff.

A quick list of jobs in the field:

Curator -- usually administers a collection, (supposedly) does research

Collections Manager -- manages the day-to-day aspects of the collection:
inventory, storage, moving them, pest control, and so forth

Registrar -- handles the more paper-oriented aspects of the collection:
insurance, shipping, tracking object movements (although 90% of
*everyone's* job is paperwork)

Director -- Administration. Hand shaking to raise money. Public
representative of the museum

Educator -- usually responsible for designing educational programs,
sometimes administers the educational collections

Exhibit Designer -- Designs & constructs exhibit futniture & lighting

You'll notice that a lot of the positions seem to overlap; sometimes
they're interchangeable, and sometimes a small museum will stuff several
jobs into one title. I have a friend who is the Director of a historic
house in Golden, Colorado, but she is the only employee and so she's also
every single one of the jobs listed above as well as secretay and janitor.

I just got a job (yes! it sometimes happens!) as an Assistant Curator at
a small museum, but if you read the description of my job you'll see that
I'm basically a Collections Manager.

Anyway, you need experience in museums to get a job in a museum, but the
good part is that you can get that experience through volunteering --
most museums desparately need warm bodies and willing hands, and it is
quite common for a good volunteer to be offered a job when one opens up,
since the person has been working there already and knows how to do the job.

Assistant Curator (as of October 8)
W.H. Over Museum
Vermillion, SD

( Thomas said:
> (oh, REMIND ME FREQUENTLY about your exhibit, as the days go by, please.)
so this is for him (everyone else can ignore at will):
Opening Reception: Friday, Sept 27, DUMA Gallery, 5:00--7:00