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How To Become A Historian In A Museum

Earn Your Bachelor’s Degree

How to build a diplodocus | Natural History Museum
  • Option 1 Since there are fewer positions for historians in a highly competitive field, you will need to keep your grades up and graduate near the top of your class. If your university has any societies that you can join as a history major, be sure to be an active member and include it on your resumes for jobs. You want to come out of your program with impeccable historical research skills that you can explain clearly and lucidly in an interview.
  • Option 2 The only exception to the guidance on progressing through one’s bachelor’s degree is if you have your sights on becoming a history teacher in the school system. If this is the case, you must determine in advance of beginning your bachelor’s degree program. In some states, youâll need to have history as a major and be simultaneously taking teaching methods coursework. Each state is different in this regard.

Comparing Graduate And Doctoral History Degrees

If youre serious about becoming a historian, an advanced degree is a better educational path than acquiring only an undergraduate degree. Whether to earn a masters degree or a Ph.D. depends on your ultimate career goals.

For a job at a museum, historical society, or archives, a masters degree is often the right choice. Graduate students can study history generally, or they may choose more specialized programs in:

  • public history
  • museum studies,
  • historical preservation

Concentrations or specializations offered in masters in history programs are often more niche. Internship experiences are also recommended and, in many programs, required for graduation.

If a research position, particularly one with the federal government, is of more interest to you, then it makes more sense to pursue a doctoral degree. Earning a Ph.D. in history will give you the opportunity to specialize in the history of a certain place, time period, or field. For Ph.D. students, like graduate students, an internship or other opportunity to gain hands-on experience working in the field of history is important for preparing you for a career.

Recent Trends In The Job Market

Recently, the most common phrase for museum job announcements has been M.A. in related field and three years experience. A bachelors degree, however, is adequate for some institutions. Related fields normally include history, but may also include art history, anthropology, archaeology, education, or marketing. Unlike many other fields, the qualifications for employment vary greatly among institutions, which makes it difficult to generalize about methods of application. Museums rarely come to college campuses for recruiting, so landing that perfect job will be the result of diligent research and targeted application materials. Museums, and the responsibilities of positions within them, are so varied that a successful job search may depend on carefully and closely demonstrating how your particular skills and abilities fit the specific needs of the museum. Determining your ideal museum situation can help to guide your path from training to museum employment.

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What Is A Historian Definition And How To Become One

Researching different job opportunities can lead you to find a career path that aligns with your interests. By taking the time to research different job possibilities, you are increasing your job prospects. In this article, we will discuss what a historian does, what kinds of degrees are offered to those interested in history, necessary skills for historians to have and five jobs that those with a history degree can obtain.

How To Volunteer At A Museum

What Is A Natural History Museum And What Is Its ...

The word “museum” comes from the Greek word “mouseion,” a place dedicated to the study and appreciation of the muses. Every day, millions of people worship those muses by visiting museums to admire ancient artifacts, commune with the likes of Monet and relish the simple beauty of a Japanese garden.

According to the American Association of Museums , among Americans, zoos are the most popular venue, followed by science and technology museums, arboretums and botanic gardens, children’s museums, natural history and art museums .

In society, museums play the role of collecting and caring for objects of scientific, artistic or historical importance and making them available to the public.

Museums are generally nonprofits funded by government grants and private donations. Typically, they rely heavily on volunteers, who do everything from handing out tickets to leading tours and cataloging inventory.

Volunteering for a museum is typically an easy process. Most museum volunteer positions require filling out an application and in some cases, providing a resume and references as well as undergoing an interview and training program. But the hardest part may be deciding where to donate your time.

That decision depends on your interests, talents and availability, not to mention which museums are in your area. A good place to start is the AAM’s Web site, which has a listing of museums by geographic areas as well as topics .

Read on to find out how to narrow your search.

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Teleworking May Be Possible

As a historian, you will also have to spend lots of time on research.

Thanks to our modern technologies, this research can often be carried out with a computer and you often just dont have to go to the library in person anymore.

This also gives you the opportunity to work from home and to better manage your personal and your professional life at the same time.

You will also not have to spend significant amounts of money and time on commuting and can rather use this time to sleep longer or to do things for your private life instead.

How To Become A Curator In The Us

  • To become a Curator in the US, one should first have a bachelor’s or Master’s degree in History, Archeology which will help to cultivate the skills like project management competencies, technical skills, and soft skills like communication and organization.
  • Get experience through internship or training in some art galleries or museums to develop analytical skills and to get networks of industries.
  • Different places like the Smithsonian in Washington DC or the National Gallery in London are some of the places where a Curator can get a decent job.
  • Some of the courses like Degree in Curatorial Studies, History are useful to become a Curator.

Top Colleges in the US

University/College Name
INR 22,98,891 to INR 23,53,627 per annum

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Career And Education Track

Entry-level jobs, such as a museum technician, require a bachelors degree. As well, many university art history degree programs require their students to undertake at least one practicum, even at the undergraduate level. Depending on the program, they may not be able to graduate without having participated in at least one practicum or internship.

These would-be art historians then go on to get a masters if they aspire to careers in museums or galleries. Art historians who work for universities as professors typically hold a Ph.D. Their Ph.D. studies give them a more in-depth foundation in their art specialization of choice. For example, art historians who want to work as Egyptologists will specialize in this subject during their doctorate studies.

Art historians work predominantly in museums, art galleries, interpretive centers, and libraries, though some also work as curators for corporate art collections. Theyll curate art exhibits, run education programs and work in archiving or preservation.

Associate Degree In History

Thinking like a historian | The historian’s toolkit | US History | Khan Academy

In an associate program, history students gain analytical and writing skills by conducting independent research and presenting their findings in papers. An associate degree prepares graduates for jobs as administrative assistants or teaching assistants who provide support services for business or education professionals.

After earning an associate degree in history, graduates can also transfer into a bachelor’s program to earn a four-year degree. Prospective history students looking for a more flexible option might be interested in earning an online associate degree in art history.

What Can You Do With an Associate in History?

Administrative assistants work as support staff in an office environment. They enter data, keep records, and conduct correspondence. Administrative assistants must possess strong writing and organizational skills. Some positions may also require direct contact with customers.

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Skills Possessed By Historians

There are concrete steps to follow when you are considering how to become a historian, such as applying to a specific university or degree program, but there are other important parts of the journey as well. While there is no one-size-fits-all mold for historians, they often possess many of the same qualities and skills that make them uniquely suited for the profession and the area of study.

If you are interested in pursuing a career in history, its important to develop and nurture these skills. According to the BLS, there are certain skills that are of particular interest to prospective historians: analytical, communication, foreign language, problem-solving and research skills. In addition, historians should also have a curious and open mind, the ability to manage time and strong knowledge of group facilitation and collaboration with others in order to put these skills to good use.

Importance Of Accredited History Degrees

Prospective history students, no matter which degree level is being pursued, should only enroll in accredited institutions. Accreditation status matters. Accreditation is the stamp of approval of an outside authority or governing body. It ensures a school and its programs meet certain standards of quality and rigor. Legitimate programs are fully accredited.

Colleges in the United States receive accreditation from agencies recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. The accreditation process involves an extensive review of an institutions student services and educational programs. When a school is not accredited, credit transferability, eligibility for financial aid, and other important criteria are impacted. It is important to choose a school and history program thats fully accredited and in good standing.

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Resources For History Majors

Once you launch your history career, it is important to stay apprised of industry trends and network with your peers. Joining professional organizations, subscribing to publications, and taking free online courses can help you accomplish these goals.

American Historical Association: The AHA is the largest professional organization in the field. It offers access to publications, industry news, learning tools, and research grants. Members can also attend the association’s annual meeting to network with peers and learn from industry experts.

Organization of American Historians: The OAH is a professional association dedicated to promoting the teaching and study of history. It publishes the Journal of American History, The American Historian, and the OAH Annual Meeting Program. Members also gain access to teaching tools, podcasts, and career resources.

National Council for History Education: NCHE is a professional association serving history educators. Members receive a digital newsletter and discounts for admission to museums and historic sites across the nation. The council also hosts a two-day conference that offers lectures, networking opportunities, and the latest industry news.

Roman Architecture – Yale University: This course provides an introduction to the building and engineering marvels of Rome and its empire. It emphasizes urban planning and monuments in Rome, Pompeii, and central Italy.

Do I Need A Specialist Museum Or Heritage Degree

The Swedish History Museum

The short answer is perhaps.

The relationship between Museum Studies masters degrees and employment in the museums sector is complex. By the early 2000s, the requirement for such qualifications marked as essential on for many museum roles had become ubiquitous. The Character Matters report found in 2016 that 69% of sampled job descriptions required an undergraduate degree, and 10% a postgraduate degree. Just 30% stated that they would consider equivalent experience.

As the cost of university education continues to grow in the United Kingdom, and as museums become increasingly aware about the problems caused by a lack of sector workforce diversity, the trend has been for Museum Studies qualifications to become a less prominent feature of selection criteria. Yet still there are cases of job adverts which make it quite clear if a candidate doesnt have a Museum Studies MA, they will not be considered for the role.

No one can doubt the value of studying museums and heritage within an academic context. Museums are complex entities with long and interesting histories, warranting dedicated study and enquiry. For those who wish to consider a heritage qualification, postgraduate or otherwise, this guide is worth reading.

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Complete A Master’s Degree Program

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics , very few jobs for historians are available for those candidates with bachelor’s degrees in history. One notable exception is becoming a museum technician. Otherwise, people with bachelor’s degrees in history pursue careers in journalism, law, or business, if they do not go into public-school teaching. Most historians have a master’s or doctorate in history as a minimum requirement for work in the field.

For those who choose to work as a historian at a museum, historical archives, or at a historical society, theyâll have to search for a suitable program that matches the specialization that they would like to pursue in their career, although a general master’s degree in history is also available at many institutions. Specialization master’s degree programs for historian candidates include programs in museum studies, preservation of historical artifacts, management of archives, and public history. Other programs that specialize focus on particular historical places or eras.

Many graduate programs will require the student to do an internship as a part of their program. It is strongly suggested that the historian candidate pursue an internship even if their program does not have this as a requirement.

You May Get Bored Of What You Are Doing In The Long Run

Another downside of a historian career is that you may also get bored with your job in the long run.

Working as a historian is just not that exciting and if you dont have a deep interest in these historical topics, you will be far better of by just going for an alternative career since you would just get bored with what you are doing pretty soon and will likely not become happy as a historian in the long run.

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What Does A History Researcher Do

History researchers study past events, people, policies, and documents to gain an in-depth understanding of their significance and impact on modern and future societies. Examining primary and secondary sources is an essential part of a history researchers job. They interpret and translate texts into different languages, contribute to research for textbooks, and assist museum curators and historians in preserving artifacts and documents. History researchers may work at universities and conduct specialized research on a certain topic. Areas of study can range from the impact of religion on ancient governments to American history.

History researchers begin by identifying a broad question or topic, and then search for and analyze past research studies on the same subject. After refining or narrowing their scope of study, they decide which historical research method to use. They find primary and secondary sources through university or library archives, historical societies, and public records, analyzing the accuracy of these sources and using their findings to write and publish academic papers or books.

Courses To Be Considered

Historian D.J. Waldie on the Cahuenga Treaty Table in Becoming L.A. #BecomingLA #LAHistory
  • At graduation or masters level, it is important to go for a correct course that will enhance the skills and understanding of the curating work that a Curator is supposed to do.
  • Some of the courses that are found best for becoming a Curator are BA in History, Arts, Literature courses, MA in Arts, Archeology, Classics, and so on.

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History Degrees & Concentrations

Degrees in history provide both theoretical and concrete knowledge at every level, though a students understanding of each are deepened as they move further into higher education. Because history reaches far back into our collective past and covers every civilization, there are also many different concentrations available. Keep reading to learn more.

Bachelor Of Arts In Ancient History

  • BA in Ancient History is a 3 years undergraduate course in India which is divided into 6 semesters of 6 months each.
  • This course is a study of the past of mankind through history, religions, material culture, society, and language of Ancient Rome, Greece, and others.
  • Subjects include knowledge of Prehistory and the medieval world.
  • Graduates from this course are well accepted by recruiters from Art Galleries, Museums, Tour and Travel- based Organizations, Government offices, etc.
  • This course is found to be most suitable for becoming a Curator who is responsible for cataloging, assembling, and displaying cultural and artistic collections.

Admission Process

Eligibility Criteria

Candidates after completing 12th from a recognized board are eligible to apply for the course. The candidates must have 50% marks at the 12th board to apply.

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Choosing An Appropriate Set Of Subjects

  • Choice of subjects is the next important step towards establishing a career as a Curator as the subjects form the basic foundation of one’s understanding of the nature of the work that a career demands.
  • For becoming a Curator, there is no such boundary in terms of subject but few subjects like History, Literature, Arts, Anthropology, Classics, and Archeology.
  • Besides these subjects, one can also start with the commerce or science stream subjects and later select a graduation or diploma course in Arts & Related subjects.

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