Hello! Welcome to ‘A Foot in the Door’. If you are reading this, you are probably interested in working in museums (if not, then you are well and truly in the wrong place). Some of you may already be trying to create a place for yourself in this fascinating yet frustrating sector, and if you fall into this category, you probably already know that although there are amazing jobs out there, it is ridiculously difficult to even get an interview for one of them, let alone a job offer! This time last year (January 2017) I was in the same position, struggling to find any job, in any museum, anywhere. There are so many hoops you have to jump through before you can find a good job that pays a (relatively) decent salary. To add to this, I was painfully inexperienced in comparison to many of the professionals I was competing against, and I wasn’t even sure what area of museum work I wanted to go into.
Luckily, I now have a great job, but I don’t think I was really expecting finding work to be so difficult. If I had fully understood how hard it would be before I had decided that this was the job for me, I hope that I wouldn’t have been put off (it is really an amazing place to work), but it would have been useful to been a little more prepared.
Therefore, this is supposed to be an honest blog about what is is like to work in museums, both the good and the…problematic. In it, I will share some of my own experiences as I get used working in this sector, and I am hoping to persuade a few of my friends and colleagues to share their experiences as well. Hopefully, this will offer some insight into the many different positions you can find in museums, the kinds of work you can expect to do, and the many, many paths you can take to get a foot in the door!
So far, the blog has been divided into several broad categories. If you would just like to browse, all of my posts are available on the main blog page (under [surprise, surprise] the ‘Blog’ tab in the menu at the top of the page). However, if you are looking for something in particular – e.g. what it is a curator actually does – there are a several categories under ‘The Museum World of Work’ that focus on specific issues:
- ‘Careers in Museum’ will talk about the main areas of museum work, from Collections to Marketing, and the types of jobs to look out for.
- ‘Pathways’ will look at different ways into the museum sector – from volunteering to postgraduate degrees and traineeships.
- ‘Life as…’ will contain case studies written by current museum professionals to give a little more information about their jobs.
(Word of warning: if you, like my brother, think that museum work means dusting old bits of pottery and putting them on shelves, this is might not be a blog for you…or perhaps it is and you just need persuading…)