Museums/Heritage Jobs & MA Relevancy Watch

hollyart
Badges: 0
Rep:
?
#1
Report Thread starter 5 years ago
#1
I've just recently graduated with a Fine Art degree and am interested in museum/heritage careers.

Competition for entry level jobs is fierce, so at the moment I'm working a shop job in order to save up for a distance MA course; either an MA in History with the OU or Museum Studies with Leicester Uni, or something similar.

Having met two people who've done the Museum Studies course, I'm naturally cautious. One of them is still volunteering with the lesser-qualified likes of me and has had no luck with the job hunt, although she says she's getting a lot more interviews since getting the MA. And the other has just begun a paid (although min. wage) one year traineeship in curating at a museum, which I'm guessing will definitely give her the edge when applying for roles when the year is up.

From looking at the Museum Studies module guide, it doesn't seem to cover anything that I couldn't learn from a well-rounded internship. And at £7000, I'm not sure whether I'd be better off saving up in order to cover the cost of quitting my job for a full-time 3-6 month internship.

The History MA meanwhile looks very interesting, it's also cheaper I might add.

A part of me is concerned that doing a History MA might not be specialised enough, whilst a Museum Studies MA could be too specialised (i.e. not useful for library, archives, research jobs).

I'm just wondering whether anyone with a job in the heritage/museums sector could offer any advice, or, if they don't mind, whether they could talk about how they got into a job in this sector.
0
reply
returnmigrant
Badges: 21
Rep:
?
#2
Report 5 years ago
#2
You are right that many MA courses in this area are an expensive waste of time and that 'doing it' is actually a better pathway. Some are just glorified history courses and you will feel cheated that you've paid ££ for stuff you learnt at u/grad level. Good advice here : http://www.museumsassociation.org/careers/8326

If you do decide o do an MA, the course at Leicester is considered one of the best - because it has a proper, well organised placement within it. It also runs a really good jobs page where you might also find a good internships etc http://www2.le.ac.uk/departments/museumstudies/JobsDesk

This is a hard area to get a foothold in - but the more 'experience' you have the better, so keep trying for internships, voluntary work etc.
1
reply
flywithemma
Badges: 14
Rep:
?
#3
Report 5 years ago
#3
Posting to subscribe to this thread!

I'm going into my final year of a history degree, and am also really interested in going into the museum industry after I graduate. I'm also undecided about what to do MA-wise - I can't decide whether to go down the Museum Studies route (I'd probably apply to UCL and Leicester), or the Archaeology route (I'd apply for Cambridge, as they have a lovely medieval archaeology stream that would enable me to also take a museum module as part of the course). I'm pretty sure I want to curate, so am worried that Museum Studies will be too vocational and not focused enough on the actual objects etc, but museum theory and things. With the archaeology, I'm worried it won't make me employable and there's also major funding issues...

I'm currently sort of just trying to get as much experience as I can! I've volunteered previously at a Roman Museum in Northumberland, and over the summer volunteered at the Lindisfarne Gospels Durham, and completed a 6 week internship at the Berlin state museums (sort of the BM for Germany!). I'm also hoping to get more experience volunteering at University Museums when my term starts again in October...
0
reply
Cybele
Badges: 14
Rep:
?
#4
Report 5 years ago
#4
Many jobs with English Heritage/National Trust for example ask for either MA Museum Studies, or for you to have qualifications in conservation.... OR a lot of hands on experience in the field. I haven't seen any museum jobs that seek an MA in History or similar, I don't think they would be particularly useful in finding a job, and I've been searching for 2 years! Personally I'd go for Museum Studies, if I ever get the funds then that's what I'll be doing. I'd agree that MA History sounds more fun though.
0
reply
flywithemma
Badges: 14
Rep:
?
#5
Report 5 years ago
#5
(Original post by Cybele)
Many jobs with English Heritage/National Trust for example ask for either MA Museum Studies, or for you to have qualifications in conservation.... OR a lot of hands on experience in the field. I haven't seen any museum jobs that seek an MA in History or similar, I don't think they would be particularly useful in finding a job, and I've been searching for 2 years! Personally I'd go for Museum Studies, if I ever get the funds then that's what I'll be doing. I'd agree that MA History sounds more fun though.
What sort of EH/NT jobs have you been looking at? I really want to do curatorial work (heart set on the British Museum one day...), but I'm worried that Museum Studies won't be 'academic' or specific enough to curate and perhaps is more geared towards jobs in things like museum education and visitor related jobs? I'm not sure though...
0
reply
Cybele
Badges: 14
Rep:
?
#6
Report 5 years ago
#6
(Original post by flywithemma)
What sort of EH/NT jobs have you been looking at? I really want to do curatorial work (heart set on the British Museum one day...), but I'm worried that Museum Studies won't be 'academic' or specific enough to curate and perhaps is more geared towards jobs in things like museum education and visitor related jobs? I'm not sure though...
Having a MA in Museum studies definitely won't hold you back if you want to be a curator. You will still need to do a postgrad, so unless you want to 'specialise' in a certain subject then Museum Studies is the way to go. You could then easily secure assistant curator roles with this and work your way up. Unless you want to do a PhD or something, but that's not necessary. Having an MA in History is good but there's absolutely no museum theory or practice that comes with it.

I want to work in conservation/curatorial roles myself, and like I said Museum Studies is something that seems to keep cropping up as a requirement when I'm looking for jobs.
Until I get round to doing my Masters I keep an eye out on here - http://www2.le.ac.uk/departments/museumstudies/JobsDesk - for entry level jobs and internships, as some look really great.
1
reply
flywithemma
Badges: 14
Rep:
?
#7
Report 5 years ago
#7
(Original post by Cybele)
Having a MA in Museum studies definitely won't hold you back if you want to be a curator. You will still need to do a postgrad, so unless you want to 'specialise' in a certain subject then Museum Studies is the way to go. You could then easily secure assistant curator roles with this and work your way up. Unless you want to do a PhD or something, but that's not necessary. Having an MA in History is good but there's absolutely no museum theory or practice that comes with it.

I want to work in conservation/curatorial roles myself, and like I said Museum Studies is something that seems to keep cropping up as a requirement when I'm looking for jobs.
Until I get round to doing my Masters I keep an eye out on here - http://www2.le.ac.uk/departments/museumstudies/JobsDesk - for entry level jobs and internships, as some look really great.
Yeah, I see your point! So many places do seem to cite museum studies as a requirement. I guess I'm just cautious because essentially I want to be an archaeologist, but won't have any real archaeological qualifications if I go down the museum studies route because my undergraduate degree is in history, so I'm worried I won't be able to do what I really want and will be stuck curating modern history, which isn't where my interest lies at all. I also had a chat with a curator who told me that from his experience, some museums were less keen to hire museum studies grads for some curatorial roles, because they weren't experts on the specific period or objects that were on display in a particular collection. I also can't say I wouldn't like to do a PhD one day, if the funding came along!

I think what I might end up doing is applying for archaeology at Cambridge as an MPhil, in which I can both focus on the specific area I'm interested in, but then also take a museum theory as well - if it wasn't for the horrendous financial guarantee, this would be perfect! It also doesn't have the integrated placement like Museum Studies does, which I guess is a big disadvantage.

Have you come across the British museum future curators programme? I think I might apply for next year if the departments fit with my interests, but am sort if unsure as to who it's pitched at - are you expected to have postgrad qualifications?
0
reply
Cybele
Badges: 14
Rep:
?
#8
Report 5 years ago
#8
(Original post by flywithemma)
Yeah, I see your point! So many places do seem to cite museum studies as a requirement. I guess I'm just cautious because essentially I want to be an archaeologist, but won't have any real archaeological qualifications if I go down the museum studies route because my undergraduate degree is in history, so I'm worried I won't be able to do what I really want and will be stuck curating modern history, which isn't where my interest lies at all. I also had a chat with a curator who told me that from his experience, some museums were less keen to hire museum studies grads for some curatorial roles, because they weren't experts on the specific period or objects that were on display in a particular collection. I also can't say I wouldn't like to do a PhD one day, if the funding came along!

I think what I might end up doing is applying for archaeology at Cambridge as an MPhil, in which I can both focus on the specific area I'm interested in, but then also take a museum theory as well - if it wasn't for the horrendous financial guarantee, this would be perfect! It also doesn't have the integrated placement like Museum Studies does, which I guess is a big disadvantage.

Have you come across the British museum future curators programme? I think I might apply for next year if the departments fit with my interests, but am sort if unsure as to who it's pitched at - are you expected to have postgrad qualifications?
I have seen the future curators programme, it looks amazing but I can only imagine the standard of people applying, with higher qualifications and much more experience than me. :afraid: I think I was put off applying for it for this reason alone, although it's true that they are looking for a 'diverse' range of applicants. I don't think you are expected to have done a postgrad, because the placement will give you a diploma at the end.

I think I would probably start with Museum Studies and then if I wanted to specialise I'd do a PhD. Or maybe I'm living in dreamland but that's what I want. I will say that the Museum Studies course at Leicester is so highly credited, I wouldn't consider studying it anywhere else. Also, one of the module options is Archaeological Curatorship, so it's something I would consider. But If you're planning to do straight up Archaeology (which sounds like so much fun btw :awesome:) then 100% take any museum theory modules that are available to you, because when you apply for jobs in museums this is what they'll be looking for first. They'll want to know you have a good understanding of museum practice/ethics etc, probably moreso than how much you know about Vikings (or whatever!)

Arhhh I want to start my MA nowwww.
1
reply
Faye__1996
Badges: 15
Rep:
?
#9
Report 2 years ago
#9
I know this is an old thread but definitely just try get as much work experience as possible. Once you get your foot in the door and meet people thats such a huge help. I've worked for N.T. for almost three years starting off as a retail assistant while studying. When I graduate I'll have 4 years work experience
0
reply
X

Quick Reply

Attached files
Write a reply...
Reply
new posts
Latest
My Feed

See more of what you like on
The Student Room

You can personalise what you see on TSR. Tell us a little about yourself to get started.

Personalise

How old were you when you first saw porn?

I've never seen it (205)
22.53%
Before I was 12 (323)
35.49%
13 (147)
16.15%
14 (108)
11.87%
15 (56)
6.15%
16 (34)
3.74%
17 (11)
1.21%
18 (8)
0.88%
Between the ages of 19 - 25 (13)
1.43%
Over 25 (5)
0.55%

Watched Threads

View All