- Institute of Conservation (ICON): Careers
- Museums Association: careers
- Engage: Careers advice – roles in galleries and gallery education, also offering gallery jobs
- Archives and Records Association: Careers in archive conservation
- The Institute of Heraldic and Genealogical Studies: Careers in Genealogy
- Archaeology Rocks – become an archaeologist
Guardian Careers hold live Q&A forums with panels of experts, eg:
- Quiz the museum workers (August 2011)
- What does a curator do? (August 2010)
- Ideas, exhibitions and artists: behind the scenes as an assistant curator
Culture 24 features news, events, exhibitions and education resources from museums, art galleries, heritage sites, archives and libraries.
These represent people working in the sector, providing training and networking opportunities. They often provide careers support for students and graduates.
They also provide development for people already working in the sector. Follow them on LinkedIn, or visit their websites for news, contacts, work experience and vacancies.
The main professional associations for this sector include:
Councils and government departments
- Creative and Cultural Skills - sector skills council for cultural heritage
- Arts Council England - supports the arts in England, including libraries and museums
- Department for Culture, Media and Sport - Government department with responsibility for museums and galleries
- Council for British Archaeology - UK body representing archaeology with news, opportunities, courses, events and societies
- National Museums Directors Council - represents the leaders of the UK's national collections and major regional museums
Heritage and archives
- Institute of Conservation (ICON)
- The National Archives - the national archives of England, Wales and the central UK government
- English Heritage - protects and promotes England's historic environment
- Association of Heritage Interpretation - forum for people involved in interpreting natural or cultural heritage
Museums and galleries
- Museums Association
- MuseumsGalleries Scotland
- Association of Independent Museums
- Group for Education in Museums (GEM)
- Engage - represents gallery, art and education professionals
- Association of Art Historians - for historians and researchers working in education, galleries, museums and publishing
- Society of Antiquaries London
- Society of Antiquaries - Newcastle upon Tyne
- Society of Antiquaries of Scotland
Heraldry and genealogy
Making contacts is useful for success in this sector. Many jobs in this field come through networking and speculative applications. You could start with:
- Graduate Connections – graduates happy to give you advice about the kind of work they do
- social media, particularly LinkedIn and Twitter, which is useful for making contacts, finding employers and opportunities. Find out more about how to use social media for your career and subscribe to our Museums and Galleries sector Twitter list
- Newcastle alumni on LinkedIn – find out what they did after graduation and contact them for advice
Recruitment fairs, open days, talks and events give insight and opportunities to make contacts.
You may also be interested in Libraries and Information Management.
Or see our other occupational pages for more options.
The following job profiles include descriptions of typical duties, entry requirements and case studies.
There are additional case studies listed on the Museums Association website.
Museum/gallery exhibitions officer
Museum education officer
Having relevant experience on your CV is a vital way of demonstrating your knowledge to employers. It helps develop your essential key skills and highlights your commitment.
In the museum and heritage sector, it is common for offers of internships on an unpaid basis.
Unpaid internships or volunteering can sometimes be the only way to get experience and successfully apply for full-time work.
This can discriminate against students who don't have resources to support themselves in internship.
These opportunities can provide excellent experience, invaluable contacts and industry knowledge. But you must also weigh up the implications of working for free.
See Internships, Placements & Shadowing for links to information about unpaid work and your employment rights.
The Careers Service does not advertise unpaid opportunities unless for charitable or not-for-profit organisations.
Work experience advice
- Museums Association – information about volunteering and getting internships
- Archives and Records Association: Placement opportunities – finding work experience in archives and conservation
- the International Centre for Cultural and Heritage Studies (ICCHS) guide on obtaining experience in museums, art museums, galleries and heritage [PDF]
Newcastle University Careers Service resources
- use Graduate Connections to contact graduates to see how they found work experience
- Newcastle Work Experience (NWE) is a paid work experience scheme with local organisations at Vacancies Online
In the North East
- Go Volunteer (NUSU) - offer student volunteering projects within the heritage and cultural sector. See also Volunteering
- Tyne and Wear Museums and Archives - voluntary opportunities
Woodhorn Museum and Northumberland Archives may also have opportunities for volunteers.
- Museum Jobs - Leicester University's job site for heritage and museums management includes internships and voluntary opportunities
- ICON: Internships - conservation internships
- Global Museum – look under museum jobs for internships, based mainly in the US
- International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property - internship programme
- Portable Activities Scheme - volunteers learn to identify, record and photograph artefacts to a national standard
- English Heritage - voluntary opportunities
- National Trust - voluntary and work experience opportunities
- Wordsworth Trust: Volunteering
- Pre-Construct Archaeology - possibility of voluntary and work experience opportunities in London or Durham offices
Speculative applications are when you contact employers not in response to an advertised vacancy.
They can be a useful way to approach smaller employers who don’t offer formal internship. They can also help in finding opportunities in a specialised field or specific location.
How to find companies
- use the directories listed under the Finding Jobs tab above
- search for local companies who may offer work experience in the North East Graduate Directory
- Researching Employers includes sources of company profiles and a list of business directories
- Social media can be useful for finding and connecting with employers, particularly through LinkedIn
Other ways to gain experience
If you are having difficulty finding experience relevant to heritage and museum management, consider:
- networking - attend conferences, presentations and events or join local groups, eg Council for British Archaeology groups
- NewcastleGateshead, which has a list of exhibitions and events to network at in the region
- student societies - Newcastle University Students' Union has societies for culture and heritage and archaeology
- seasonal work as a tour guide (eg at Alnwick Castle), interpreter or visitor reception assistant
There are a wide variety of resources for sourcing jobs in the museums and galleries sector.
Museums and galleries
- Museum Jobs - Leicester University's job site for heritage and museum management
- Museums Association - vacancies in areas of heritage and museum work
- National Museum Directors’ Council: Jobs
- Global Museum - news and jobs
- Group for Education in Museums (GEM) - jobs in education in museums and galleries
- Archives & Records Association: Jobs - member subscription required
- British Archaeological Jobs and Resources
- Earthworks Jobs - international website for vacancies in earth sciences, including archaeology
- Chartered Institute for Archaeologists (CIfA): online adverts
Public sector and higher education vacancies
- Guardian Jobs
- Jobs.ac.uk - search for jobs in librarianship, information science, IP, transfer technology and museum/curatorial work
- Times Higher Education - for vacancies within higher education
- North East Jobs - advertises local library and museum vacancies
- LG Jobs - recruitment site for local government. Search for museum and gallery work in the UK under the category 'Arts'.
- Jobs Go Public - public sector and not-for-profit jobs including museums and galleries
Not all jobs are advertised. You could also approach organisations or find work through networking in the industry.
Find organisations that interest you and get in touch, always with a named contact. Be specific about why you are writing to them and what you’re looking for.
Show your enthusiasm for the sector and highlight any relevant skills. Don’t give up if you don’t get a reply – follow up with a phone call or email to show that you’re keen.
Use the directory resources below to research and find potential employers:
- MuseumsGalleries Scotland - search for museums and galleries in Scotland
- Northern Ireland Museums Council - lists museums in Northern Ireland
- National Archives: ARCHON directory - search for record repositories including organisations with collections of manuscripts
- Shovelbums - list of archaeology field schools
Study & Training
It is possible to find work in museums and galleries with an undergraduate degree in a range of academic backgrounds. However, many positions require, or desire, a postgraduate qualification.
An MA or diploma in museum or gallery studies, or a PhD in your specialist area, can give you an advantage.
But competition for jobs in this sector is high. Having a postgraduate qualification will not guarantee you a job. It can give you the chance to build your contacts through conferences and placements.
Work experience, voluntary or paid, is usually essential to get a place on a course and to find a job at the end of it.