This post was written by Holly Prescott, Postgraduate Employer Liaison Officer with Careers Network.
One of my earliest memories takes me back to a primary school museum trip where we saw the Lindow Man. One of the most significant archaeological discoveries of the 1980s, the affectionately nick-named ‘Pete Marsh’ was an Iron Age man whose body had been remarkably preserved in a peat bog in Cheshire for nearly 2,000 years.
Not only was I fascinated as to why anyone would spend 2,000 years hanging around Cheshire, but the exhibition also made me consider notions of history, culture and humanity that I simply hadn’t contemplated before.
More than twenty years later therefore, it never comes as a surprise to speak to students who have great passion and enthusiasm for pursuing a career in museums and galleries, ensuring that historical objects and artistic collections continue to be open to all.
Having said that, working in the cultural sector isn’t all about managing exhibitions and working with curating and collections. Roles can also involve marketing and PR, interpreting collections and making them accessible to the public, fundraising, audience development, helping your organisation to manage financial risk… the list goes on! This list from the Museums Association gives an overview of the wide variety of roles that are available within cultural organisations.
Taking all this into consideration, I recently put together a ‘digest’ for the Career Action Planning for Masters Students (CAPMS) Canvas course looking at museum and gallery careers.
If you’re a Masters student and you’d like to receive our weekly digest full of careers information, events and opportunities for taught postgraduates, self-enrol onto the CAPMS course at https://canvas.bham.ac.uk/enroll/JW49TY
If not, here’s a summary of upcoming events, resources and other snippets to get you started if you think a future in museums and galleries could be right for you:
- The Museums Associations event listings: This membership organisation for professionals in museums, galleries and heritage lists a range of events in the sector, including Moving On Up: Taking Control of Your Museum Career, a one-day conference for early museum professionals taking place in Liverpool on 2 March 2016
- The Museums Association also has lots of career advice for those seeking to break into or progress their career in the cultural sector. Amongst other things, there’s a useful Video with top tips from professionals from organisations including the National Portrait Gallery and Museums Sheffield
- British Archaeological Jobs and Resources: Job listings in Archaeology and Heritage Employment
- Museums and Galleries Jobs Desk: Hosted by Leicester University, but open to everyone, this is the UK’s most extensive free vacancy listing source for museums and galleries
- Heritage Daily: fascinating online magazine and journal dedicated to the historic sciences, from archaeology and heritage through to science and related sub-disciplines
- Alumni Mentor: Katie Hall: Katie studied an MA in History of Art at Birmingham (2009-10), and is now Exhibitions Officer at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery. If you’re interested in working in museums and galleries, read her story or ask her a question using the link above
- Alumni blog: Paul Horn: Paul graduated with a PhD in English in 2013 and is currently undertaking a paid internship with Birmingham Museums Trust. Follow his story and see what he’s up to on his ‘Culture at UoB’ Blog
- Research and Cultural Collections: Our cultural collections and venues here on campus deliver innovative and high quality research, teaching and public engagement. Check out their site to see if they have an opportunity for you…