Museum administrators look after the business side of the institution and, depending on the size of the museum or cultural institution, the museum administrator may be one person or a team.
We like to think of a museum administrator as someone who is good under pressure, has killer organization and communication skills, is able to multitask like a boss and ultimately makes sure the museum is always running smoothly behind the scenes.
Museum Administrator Job Description
Museum administrators have a wide range of responsibilities depending on their specific title and institution including, but not limited to: fundraising, developing budgets, hiring and firing staff, ensuring safety policies, public relations policies, and educational goals are being met, attending board meetings, etc.
Check out this job description for an Administrative Assistant at the Museum of Craft and Design:
Working closely with the Executive Director and Associate Director, the Administrative Assistant oversees all aspects of administrative coordination and logistics for the Museum of Craft and Design. The Administrative Assistant’s primary role is to support the Executive Director, Associate Director, and Business Director, performing a variety of routine to complex administrative, clerical and office duties.
- Oversees day-to-day administrative needs of the museum’s office; serves as point person for general office procedures and interoffice communications
- Assists in data-entry and development of record keeping protocol for various museum departments utilizing the museum’s database software (Altru)
- Ensures office and meeting spaces are prepared for the workday and upcoming meetings
- Assists with organizing meetings, notifies attendees and sends reminders on behalf of the Executive Director and Associate Director
- Prepares agendas, correspondence, reports, and other requested documents as required by the Executive Director, Associate Director, and Business Director, maintaining a high level of confidentiality
- Assists in preparation for Board and Committee meetings; gathers staff, board, and community partnership reports for the Associate and Executive Director, prepares room and refreshments and provides administrative support for Board and Committee members as needed
- Gathers minutes from Board of Directors meetings for signatures and maintains electronic and hard-copy archives
- Organizes and prepares meeting spaces for conference calls and telecommunications, including logistical arrangements for domestic, international, and Skype or Zoom calls
- Organizes travel arrangements including airline, car, and hotel reservations for staff, curators, artists as assigned
- Manages incoming and outgoing mail for the Museum and ensures mailing supplies are stocked
- Answers phones and manages incoming communications (email, phone, post) and directs to appropriate staff as needed
- Liaises with Business Director and Associate Director to ensure smooth processing of accounts payable/receivable, tax documents, payroll and staff leave
- Coordinates department expense reporting procedures; ensures invoices are reviewed and approved by Associate Director and delivered to the Business Director in a timely manner
- Implements and maintains effective management systems for the museum’s paper and electronic records, including accounting, insurance, contracts, etc.
- Manages administrative office budget; ensures accurate and timely reporting
- Deposits all checks and cash weekly or as needed, records deposits, manages petty cash- In the absence of the Business Director, makes necessary payments as approved by senior staff
- Oversees and maintains inventory of office supplies
- Maintains printer supplies, printer ink, etc. in coordination with Operations and Special Events Manager
- Oversees daily upkeep of staff kitchen, refrigerators, and maintains inventory of utensils and serving goods
- Oversees inventory and budget for snacks and beverages for designated meetings and ensures meeting spaces are set in advance
- Answers doorbell for packages and welcomes visitors for appointments
- Provides administrative support for Visitor Services initiatives; logs comment cards, adds and maintains emails from FOH sign-up sheet in the museum’s donor database, removes unsubscribed emails from database
- Develops and maintain a successful strategy for intern recruitment, evaluation, and retention
- Assists in the posting, recruitment, and processing of applications for interns and employment opportunities in partnership with relevant departments
- Conducts independent research and assists with special projects, special events as needed
- Additional duties as required
Museum Administrator Salary
Most museum administrators fall in the range of $30,000 to $80,000, depending on the specific job title and size/type of the museum.
Here are some examples of salaries from past jobs on museum.jobs:
- Administrative Assistant at the Museum of Craft and Design
- $20.00 – $22.00/hour
- Collections Database Administrator/Registrar at the Asian Art Museum
- $33.31 – $40.01/hour
- Museum Registrar at the University of California, Riverside
- $47,125 – $75,840/year
Museum Administrator Degree
To become a museum administrator, you typically need a bachelor’s degree in a related field, e.g., arts administration, museum studies, history, business administration, etc., and 1-3 years of administrative experience depending on the position.
Check out these awesome schools with museum administration and related programs:
- Museum Studies Program at the University of Iowa
- Arts Administration at Boston University
- Business Administration at the University of Phoenix
Museum administrators work in various aspects of the museum and hold many different titles, e.g., human resources, registrar, archivist, administrative assistant, project manager, coordinator, receptionist, etc.