How to Become a Museum Technician

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Museums are complex facilities that require a variety of professionals for effective and efficient operation. Museum technicians are trained professionals that assist curators with a variety of preparation and maintenance duties of items located in the museum.

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What does a museum technician do?

Museum technicians provide valuable assistance to curators by performing a variety of tasks. They help preserve, prepare, care for, and display items and exhibits. They also provide the necessary cleaning and maintenance tasks of exhibits. Museum technicians often act as museum support staff to make sure the museum is functioning effectively. They retrieve and store items, help catalog artifacts and records, and clean and prepare items for curators. They also prepare necessary documents, compose correspondence, and guide groups through displays. Some museum technicians are involved with answering public questions and coordinating educational outreach programs. Some museum technicians specialize in research of a certain topic such as ceramic bowls.

What kind of training does a museum technician need?

Museum technicians typically need at least an associate degree in museum studies, art history, or other related area. Many employers prefer candidates with a bachelor degree in a specific specialty such as science or art history. Prospective museum technicians typically complete courses in English, art history, public speaking, artifact preservation, records management, and other related topics. Many employers provide on the job training to new museum technicians to enable them to learn the necessary policies and procedures of the museum as well as become familiar with the exhibits and objects. Museum technicians usually complete continuing education throughout their careers to update their knowledge and skills and stay abreast with advancements in the field.

What are the prospects for a career as a museum technician?

Employment of museum technicians is expected to grow much faster than average for all professions, increasing 26% from 2008 to 2018 (1). The increase in public interest in a variety of museums will drive job growth.

Job prospects are projected to be good with strong competition. Museum technicians with specialized training will have the best job opportunities. Some job openings will stem from the need to replace museum technicians that retire, transfer, or leave the field for other reasons.

How much do museum technicians make?

As of January 2010, the average annual salary for museum technicians is $31,000; average annual museum technician salaries vary greatly by location, employer, education, experience, and benefits (2).

A career as a museum technician is an excellent choice for individuals with a strong interest in performing a variety of tasks to assist curators and other professionals working for museums. Museum technicians must have a solid understanding of a variety of care and preservation procedures. Patience, detail orientation, good concentration, and good organizational skills are necessary characteristics. Museum technicians must have good communication and interpersonal skills and the ability to work with the public. They must also be able to effectively work as part of a team.

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