Museology

Museology professionals work in the many museums that preserve history, display art treasures and educate visitors. Jobs in this field range from protecting artifacts to performing administrative tasks. Check out this article to discover if a career in museology is right for you.

Is Museology for Me?

Career Overview

Museology is a field of study that teaches students about the day-to-day business of running a museum. Also called museum studies, museology encompasses museum management, acquisitions, education and other topics. It can prepare graduates to become curators, collections managers, museum directors, exhibit designers, repatriation officers, conservators and museum technicians. Many degree programs in museology include internships and hands-on training. Some schools operate museums where students design the exhibits and create educational materials for visitors.

Working as a curator, you'd administer a museum and oversee the acquisition and display of collections. Many curators are specialists and might manage only a specific collection at a larger museum. Small museums might employ a single curator or just a few curators to handle all tasks.

Your responsibilities as a conservator might include examining specimens with chemical analysis or x-ray imaging and then administering a suitable preserving treatment to hinder deterioration. You might also restore specimens as a conservator. Working as a museum technician, you'd respond to questions from the public and assist curators with tending specimens.

Specializations

A museology degree might qualify you for work beyond museums. You could apply the skills learned in a museology program to jobs at historical societies, private or corporate collections, non-profit facilities, cultural centers and libraries with public displays.

Employment Information

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there were approximately 29,300 curators, conservators, archivists and museum technicians employed in the United States as of 2012 (www.bls.gov). Most worked at museums and historic sites.

The BLS predicted that jobs for curators will increase 13% between 2012 and 2022. Employment opportunities for conservators and museum technicians were expected to rise seven percent during that same time. According to the BLS, curators received a median annual salary of $50,550 as of 2013. Conservators and museum technicians earned median yearly pay of $40,020 that same year.

How Can I Work in Museology?

Undergraduate Education

Bachelor's degree programs and the more common master's degree programs in museum studies or museology will typically teach you how to manage museum collections and create exhibits that appeal to visitors. You might take courses teaching museum administrative duties, operational responsibilities and research techniques. Classes could include fundraising, exhibit design, conservation techniques, repatriation and ethical issues. Other potential courses are anthropology, history and art history.

Bachelor's degree programs in museum studies are scarce. It's easier to find schools offering museum studies as a minor or as a concentration within a bachelor's degree program in relevant fields including archeology or history, according to the BLS. A bachelor's degree is often sufficient for you to work as a curator at a small museum.

To work as a museum technician, you'll generally need a bachelor's degree in the museum's specialization, formal schooling in museum studies or prior experience working at a museum. You could also pursue an undergraduate certificate in museum studies to supplement majors in relevant fields including anthropology and history.

Graduate Education

At most museums, you'll need a master's degree in museum studies or in a field corresponding to the museum's specialization to work as a curator. Some museums of natural history or science want curators to hold a doctoral degree. Most museums want conservators with extensive experience, as well as a master's degree in museum conservation methods or a similar field. Graduate programs in museum conservation are rare, the BLS noted. A graduate certificate in museum studies is an option if you already hold a graduate degree.

Related Videos

  • Law Enforcement Degree Options - Video

    Police, detectives, crime scene investigators, corrections personnel, probation staff and court officials all help to provide for the safety and welfare of the population. Earning a degree in Law Enforcement can prepare you for diverse careers in crime prevention, investigation and prosecution. Find out more about Law Enforcement degree options here.
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

Popular Schools

  • Southern New Hampshire University

    Southern New Hampshire University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Southern New Hampshire University:

    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • Ashford University

    Ashford University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Ashford University:

    Online Programs Available

  • Grand Canyon University

    Grand Canyon University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Grand Canyon University:

    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • Purdue University Global

    Purdue University Global responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Purdue University Global:

    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • Colorado Christian University

    Colorado Christian University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Colorado Christian University:

    • Associate Programs

    Online Programs Available

  • Penn Foster High School

    Penn Foster High School responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Penn Foster High School:

    Online Programs Available

  • Regent University

    Regent University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Regent University:

    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • Harvard University

    Campus Locations:

    • Massachusetts: Cambridge
  • New England College

    New England College responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at New England College:

    • Associate Programs

    Online Programs Available