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Museum Careers

This page explores some of the career paths in the museum field and the degrees and experiences that are required of them. The information on this page was provided by Dr. Alissa Butler during a Historic New England internship professional development workshop. Please see Alissa Butler's Interview Transcript for more information about her and Historic New England. 

Museum Education & Programming 

Curation, Collections Management, Exhibits

Libraries, Archives, and Museums (LAMs)

Preservation & Restoration

  • Preserving, conserving, and restoring objects/items requires a MS in art conservation or specialized training 
  • Working with historic buildings and preservation requires a Master of Architecture 

Museum Adjacent Careers: Development & Fundraising

  • Develops relationships with donors and individuals who support the long term mission of the organization
  • Donor relations
  • Grant writing (most often contact work)

Admin Assistant 

  • Entry level position
  • Assistant to the CEO or Executive Director 
  • Nonprofit management 
  • No specialized degree or training required

Visitor Services/ Visitor Experience

  • Entry level position
  • Deals with visitors and visitor experience 
    • Memberships, visitation, ticketing, 
  • No specialized degree or training required 



  • Internships at the graduate level are closes to work experience
  • Having one internship in your preferred specialization with more internships in other areas is best, as this creates a well-rounded resume
  •  Be proactive by looking for any areas that are lacking in your resume 
  • 4 graduate level internship = 2 years of work experience
  • Internships at small museums and historical societies show varied experience (as smaller museums often do not have funding for lots of staff, thus interns and volunteers likely perform varied tasks in multiple departments)
  • Paid is best!


  • Volunteering is just as important as internships and does not look "less impressive" than an internship, especially if it is long term


  • Leadership positions at university organizations (such as a Graduate Student Association or Student Union) 
  • Treasurer positions demonstrate money managing abilities and an understanding of budgets 
  • Positions on a board of trustees can also provide valuable leadership experience