Museum Technician Job Description

Salary: $29,700 – $50,700 Number of Jobs: 11,900
Hourly Rate: $14.27 – $24.37 Employment Outlook: Normal
Green Job: No Education:

What do Museum Technicians do?

Museum technicians prepare documents and objects that are used in museum exhibits. They work very closely with curators, who decide which items should be placed in the exhibits.

When a museum receives a new item, some museum technicians are responsible for creating documentation that describes the appearance and condition of the item. Technicians also work with archivists to help organize the items that a museum receives, and may work with a conservator to help restore them if damaged.

Since museum technicians are familiar with most (if not all) of the items in an exhibit, they are able to answer questions that the museum guests have about the items. In some museums, technicians spend a considerable amount of their time interacting with the guests in this way, and may work as guides.

One of the biggest duties that museum technicians have is setting up exhibits. Exhibits are normally planned and designed by a curator, but it’s the museum technician’s job to take that plan, assemble the necessary items, and put the exhibit together.

This can be a physically demanding occupation at times, particularly when working with large, heavy, or awkwardly shaped items. It can also be frustrating from time to time. For example, if an exhibit just isn’t working as planned, adjustments need to be made to work that is already completed.

In some museums, technicians create literature for the museum that they work in. This includes brochures and informational packets that are handed out to guests when they enter the museum, as well as marketing materials that are used to increase public awareness of the museum’s exhibits.

When the museum closes at night (or before it opens in the morning), museum technicians clean and dust the exhibits. Some items are extremely fragile, and cleaning them properly requires special attention and care.

As museum technicians advance in their careers, they typically become more specialized. In some cases, they keep their specialty throughout their career. Some technicians choose to specialize in working with a particular medium (like ceramics or paintings), while others choose to work with items related to a specific subject (like a type of people, or period of history).

Most museum technicians work full time. Working on weekends is often required, but since most museums close in the early evening, working nights is rarely necessary.

How to Become a Museum Technician

Most museums require technicians to have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree related to the subject that the museum specializes in. For instance, an American history degree would be desirable for a museum technician position at a museum that covers parts of American history.

Some museum technicians earn their bachelor’s degree in museum studies, but very few schools offer these programs. This subject is more commonly taught at the graduate level, and many schools offer master’s degrees in museum studies.

If you’re an undergraduate student and you’d like to work as a museum technician after college, getting an internship with a museum is highly recommended. These positions tend to be very competitive, and relevant work experience can help you stand out. To learn more about the internship options available to you, stop by the career center at your college or university.

Earning a master’s degree can be very advantageous. Even though it isn’t needed for a museum technician position, it’s often a requirement to work as a curator. Without a master’s, advancement opportunities within a museum may be very limited.

Related Occupations

Employment Outlook

There are currently 11,900 museum technicians in the United States, with 410 new museum technician job openings created each year.

Museum Technician jobs are not expected to see much growth beyond their current levels in the next decade.

Museum Technician Salaries

Overall Salaries

Museum Technician salaries can vary depending on your experience, the location, company, industry, and benefits provided. Nationwide, most museum technicians make between $29,700 – $50,700 per year, or $14.27 – $24.37 per hour.

Updated: 05/04/2017

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