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What Is an Exhibition Manager?

Museums preserve history, culture, and art. They provide entertainment and education to visitors. As an exhibition manager, you'll help inspire the awe that patrons experience when they walk through your museum. Keep reading to learn more about this career field.

Tasks and Responsibilities

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov) doesn't offer detailed information on the career field of exhibition management, but in a 2010 article, it does note that exhibition managers oversee museum exhibits. As an exhibition manager, you would work with other museum employees, such as designers and curators, to organize and manage the creation and budget of an exhibit. An exhibit designer, not to be confused with exhibit manager, is the person who actually creates an exhibit, working with artifacts and props, to create the experience the museum requires or bring the designer's own vision to life.

Important Facts About Exhibition Managers

Median Salary (2019) $84,572*
Job Outlook (2016-2026) 13% growth (for all archivists, curators, and museum workers)**
On-The-Job Training Provided through instructional seminars and workshops
Key Skills Organization, leadership, multi-tasking, creativity
Similar Occupations Archivist, public relations specialist, museum conservator

Sources: *Salary.com, **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Work Environment

An exhibit manager can work in many types of institutions, including art, history, and science museums, zoos, and gardens. As an employee of a museum in general, you'll need good communication skills, since you will be working with many other employees, conveying your needs and the museum needs per exhibit. Some museum jobs overlap, so job duties vary by institution.

Education

The required education to work as an exhibit manager varies. Museum workers generally need at least a bachelor's degree in the field corresponding to type of museum in which you'd like to work, according to the BLS. An aspiring history museum exhibition manager, for example, would major in history. Other positions, such as curator, generally require a master's degree, but might also require a Ph.D. You also have the option of studying to earn a degree in museum studies, offered through bachelor's and master's degree programs. Additionally, you can look into obtaining a graduate certificate in museum studies after completing an undergraduate degree program in another field.

Professional Organizations

The National Association for Museum Exhibition (NAME) may offer resources for exhibition managers. Part of the American Association of Museums (AAM), NAME caters to the job field of museum exhibitions through workshops and conferences. You can become a member by paying dues, and in return, you will have access to NAME's representatives and have networking opportunities.