Why Museums Produce Great Employees

Searching for your next great hire? Look no further than your local museum.

Most museums are fast-paced, customer-facing, community-focused institutions that cultivate valuable skills for almost any industry. So whether you’re an employer looking for new staff, or a museum worker in the market for a new job, it’s time to recognize all awesome transferable skills museums develop in their employees and volunteers.

Still need convincing that museums produce superstar staff? Read on.

Their customer service game is on point

Museums are by their very nature customer-serving organizations, so both front- and back-of-house staff are skilled at keeping visitor experience at the heart of what they do. Whether they’re welcoming visitors at the ticket desk, managing the website, or developing a fun school workshop, museum workers are almost always focused on what their customers want and need.

They love what they do

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Museums and galleries are usually non-profits, so it’s no surprise they aren’t always the most lucrative places to work. Instead, what motivates most museum workers is a passion for what they do, and a desire to make a positive contribution to their community. So if a museum worker applies for your next job posting, you can be pretty confident they’re motivated by a genuine interest in the role, not just salary. Bonus!

They boss it at budgeting

How do museums create amazing exhibits and experiences on a shoestring?

With their amazingly creative and resourceful staff, of course. We’ve already mentioned that museum workers often work within tight budgets. The silver lining to this challenge is that it boosts skills in resourcefulness and maximizing value for money. So if you’re and employer looking to boost your bottom line, a museum worker could be a surprisingly good alternative to a finance guru.

…and selling

The gift shop isn’t the only place to find great salespeople in a museum. Staff in almost every role need to sell their projects and the museum itself to funders, collaborators, and visitors. So the next time you see ‘grant writing’ or ‘membership drive’ on a museum worker’s CV, read it as ‘great salesperson’.

Museums are multi-tasking meccas

Most US museums have fewer than 3 staff members, and even the largest institutions can have surprisingly small teams. This means that many museum workers end up juggling lots of responsibilities and sometimes even multiple roles – all with a cool head and a smile.

Some museum workers can even be in two places at once – well…almost.

Attention to detail superpowers

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No one wants to see a typo in their guidebook or a coffee stain on the cafe table. That’s why museum workers need to make sure every detail is just right. From conservators preserving the tiniest fossils to curators researching obscure facts for a new exhibition, most museum workers have developed an eagle eye for spotting potential problems.

They can handle a fast-paced environment

Don’t be fooled by the aura of quiet contemplation in many galleries and museums; they are often pretty hectic workplaces. Exhibits have strict opening and closing times, gift shops need restocking, floors and toilets need cleaning, cafes need cooking, and tours must run like clockwork to keep visitors happy. Not to mention all the writing, researching, organizing, cataloguing, advocating, fundraising, and social media managing that keeps everything ticking over behind the scenes.

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This constant hive of activity and tight deadlines means that most people with a museum on their CV can handle any fast-paced work environment.

Whatever skill you’re looking to hire or develop, chances are you can find it at a museum. Just another reason why we think museums are awesome.


This article first appeared on museumhack.com on October 20, 2017.


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