Museums Explained



 

Sections:

 

Staff

 

There are specialized staff members [1] in many museums. Depending on the budget and size of a museum, position descriptions may be combined in various ways. Here are some of the usual staff functions:

 

Administrative Manager

The administrative manager is often responsible for financial and office management, building operations, remodeling, room use, security, special projects and other general administrative support functions.

 

Bookstore or Gift Shop Manager

This manager is responsible for the management of a museum's store with functions including merchandising, maintaining merchandise stock, maintaining and monitoring budgets and inventories. Some large institutions, with the Metropolitan Museum of Art as the most prominent example, have large profit centers involving stores beyond the museum's own property.
 
 

Conservator

See Fred Wallace, Associate Conservator of the Cincinnati Art Museum in a series of video clips that introduce him and his job, explain the elements of arts conservation, discuss classes students should take to prepare for a career as a conservator, and more.
 
TFAO provides further references for the subject of conservation in the page titled Conservation from the report Resources for Collectors, Life Long Learners, Students and Teachers of Art History.
 
 

Curator

According to a Bureau of Labor Statistics web page: "Curators direct the acquisition, storage, and exhibition of collections, including negotiating and authorizing the purchase, sale, exchange, or loan of collections. They are also responsible for authenticating, evaluating, and categorizing the specimens in a collection. Curators oversee and help conduct the institution's research projects and related educational programs. However, an increasing part of a curator's duties involves fund raising and promotion, which may include the writing and reviewing of grant proposals, journal articles, and publicity materials, as well as attendance at meetings, conventions, and civic events."
 
According to a Los Angeles County Museum of Art website page: "One of the fundamental responsibilities of a museum curator is tracing the history of ownership, the provenance, of works of art in the collections of the museum. Knowing the geographic, personal and commercial route followed by works of art provides valuable insight into the history of collecting and taste. Documenting provenance can also serve as a way of authenticating a work of art as well as an important means of establishing legal ownership of it. Ideally, an unbroken chain of ownership can be established from the artist's workshop, or site at which the work was produced, to the present. In many cases, however, the necessary documentation is missing, producing breaks in the chain."
 
Curators develop materials for museum visitors: brochures, exhibition catalogues, audio guides, and wall text.
 
Larger museums often separate curation duties among several individuals. There may be collections curators, exhibition curators, education curators and a chief curator who supervises the specialist curators. Curators often have an advanced degree in art history; many have doctoral degrees.
 
A "guest curator" is a curator of an exhibition appearing at a museum venue wherein that individual is not employed by the exhibiting museum.The guest curator my be an independent scholar, a professor at a university. or an individual from another source. Sometimes an exhibition is jointly curated by both an employee of the exhibiting museum and a guest curator. Guest curators may provide services to individuals Shaping an Art Collection.
 
Joint curation may occur in the case of a traveling exhibition. The curator of an exhibition toured by an organizing museum to various other museums may collaborate with the curator at an exhibiting museum A common motive for collaboration is to facilitate the exhibiting museum adding some of its own artworks to the set of artworks in the traveling exhibition. Please see Planning, Organizing and Touring Art Exhibitions.
 
Individuals with a special interest in a particular painting, sculpture, decorative art object, or work on paper that is not on display at a museum may be able to make arrangements with a curator for a private viewing. Museums usually prohibit formal authentication, monetary appraisal, or treatment of privately owned property by curatorial staff members.
 
A support organization for curators is the the Association of Art Museum Curators. Also see the College Art Association Web page for Standards and Guidelines, which contains a 2007 report titled "Professional Practices for Art Museum Curators."
 
See Glenn Markoe, Curator of Classical and Near Eastern Art of the Cincinnati Art Museum in a series of video clips that introduce him and his job, explain the elements of arts conservation, discuss classes students should take to prepare for a career as a conservator, and more.
 
In this 02:55 California Center for College and Career's ConnectEd "Day in the Life" series segment from 2011, René de Guzman, Senior Curator of Art at the Oakland Museum of California, talks about his job. Accessed 8/14.
 
 
Suggested Books
 
Collections Management, By Anne Fahy. ISBN:0415112826. Note: Google Books offers a Limited Preview of this book. For more information on this and other digitizing initiatives from publishers please click here and here.
 
Current Thoughts on Collections Policy, Daniel R. Porter, 12 pages. Published 1985 by American Association for State and Local History
 
A Deaccession Reader, Stephen E. Weil, ed. Published 1997 by American Association of Museums. 257 pages. ISBN:0931201500
 
Developing Museum Exhibitions for Lifelong Learning, By Gail Durbin, Group for Education in Museums. Published 1996 by GEM, Group for Education in Museums Exhibitions. 248 pages. ISBN:0112905528. Google Books says of this book: "If education is at the core of all museum activity, then displays are arguably the most important means by which museums can inhibit or encourage learning. This book combines learning theory with consideration of the needs of different museum audiences and offers practical information about setting up displays. An indispensable reference for exhibit designers, educators, directors, and students of museology."
Developing a Collections Management Manual, Daniel R. Porter, 1986 (20 pages).
 
How to Develop a Collections Management Policy, Association of Illinois Museums and Historical Societies, l993 (6 pages).
 
Manual of Curatorship: A Guide to Museum Practice, By John M. A. Thompson, Published 1992 by Butterworth-Heinemann Management. 756 pages. ISBN:0750603518. Google Books says of this book: "Based on original contributions by specialists, this manual covers both the theory and the practice required in the management of museums. It is intended for all museum and art gallery profession staff, and includes sections on new technology, marketing, volunteers and museum libraries." (right: front cover: Manual of Curatorship: A Guide to Museum Practice. Image courtesy Google Books)
 
The Manual of Museum Exhibitions, By Barry Lord, Gail Dexter Lord. Published 2002 by Rowman Altamira. 576 pages. ISBN:0759102341. Note: Google Books offers a Limited Preview of this book. For more information on this and other digitizing initiatives from publishers please click here and here.

 

Development Director

The development director is responsible for 'friend raising" and fund raising including membership programs, annual appeals, special events, grant writing, major gifts, capital campaigns and planned giving programs. Support organizations for development directors include the Association of Fundraising Professionals and
the Art Museum Development Association.
 
Suggested Books
 
Conducting a Successful Fundraising Program, Kent E. Dove, 2001 (961 pages)
 
Don't Just Applaud - Send Money: The Most Successful Strategies for Funding and Marketing in the Arts, Alvin H. Reiss, 1995 (146 pages)
 
Fund Raising for Museums, Hedy A. Hartman, 1986 (530 pages).
 
Keep the Money Coming: A Step-by-Step Strategic Guide to Annual Fundraising, Christine Graham, 1992 (127 pages).
 
Quest for Funds Revisited: A Fund-Raising Starter Kit, National Trust for Historic Preservation.
 
Share Your Success: Fund-raising Ideas, National Trust for Historic Preservation.
 
Successful Fundraising: A Complete Handbook for Volunteers and Professionals, Joan Flanagan, 1993 (305 pages).
 
The Fine Art of Federal Grantsmanship for Museums, Nancy J. Parezo and Germaine Juneau, 1988 (135 pages). A guide to seeking federal funding.
 
The Foundation Center's Guide to Proposal Writing, The Foundation Center, 1993 (191 pages).
 
Grant Writer's Start-up Kit, Successful Images, Inc., 2000 (63 pages).
 
How Foundations Work: What Grantseekers Need to Know About the Many Faces of Foundations, Dennis P. McIlnay, 1998 (204 pages).
 
Proposal Planning and Writing, Lynn E. Miner and Jerry Griffith, 1993 (153 pages.)
 
Winning Grants Step by Step, Mim Carlson, 1995 (115 pages.)
 
 

Education Director

The education director (sometimes called Education Curator) prepares and executes education and public programs for adults and students, usually in connection with exhibitions. The education director may have oversight of events lectures, docent programs, field trips, tours, workshops, and more. For example, the University of Kentucky Art Museum explains a facet of its educational programs as follows: "Education programs at the Art Museum bring art to life for members of our community, enriching exhibitions with cultural and aesthetic information. Recognizing that a trip to the museum is not always possible and acknowledging that pre-visit study greatly enhances students learning and enjoyment of the museum, we have designed curricula for elementary, middle, and high school students. We hope that it will prove helpful to you and exciting to your students."
 
Suggested Books
 
Building Museum & School Partnerships, Beverly Sheppard, editor, American Association of Museums, Pennsylvania Federation of Museums and Historical Organizations. Published 1993 by American Association of Museums. 101 pages. ISBN:0931201187 (right: front cover: Building Museum & School Partnerships. Image courtesy Google Books)
 
The Educational Role of the Museum, By Eilean Hooper-Greenhill. Published 1999 by Routledge. 346 pages. ISBN:0415198267. Google Books says: "In this updated and revised second edition, Eilean Hooper-Greenhill incorporates recent and important articles that address the relationships of museums and galleries to their audiences. The Educational Role of the Museum covers broad themes relevant to providing for all museum visitors and also focuses specifically on educational groups. Contributors discuss topics such as new communication models for the museum, problems in visitor orientation and circulation, and increased exhibit accessibility through multisensory interaction. This edition represents the most developed position of the state of the field of museum education and introduces theories that have the potential to move current professional debates into more critical areas." Note: Google Books offers a Limited Preview of this book. For more information on this and other digitizing initiatives from publishers please click here and here.
 
How to Develop Effective Educational Programs, Illinois Association of Museums, 1994 (4 pages).
 
How to Develop Effective Teacher Workshops, By Peter S. O'Connell. Published 1987 by American Association for State and Local History Museums and schools. 16 pages. Issued as a detachable pamphlet in History News, vol. 42, no. 3, May-June, 1987.
 
Learning Conversations in Museums, By Gaea Leinhardt, Kevin Crowley, Karen Knutson. Published 2002 by Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. 461 pages. ISBN:0805840524. Google Books says: "Teach. & learn. in non-school settings such as museums is a topic of increasing interest to researchers in psych, educ (sci, art, soc stud), cog sci, and to specialists in museum educ. This book fits nicely into a small but rapidly expanding market." Note: Google Books offers a Limited Preview of this book. For more information on this and other digitizing initiatives from publishers please click here and here. (left: front cover: Learning Conversations in Museums. Image courtesy Google Books)
 
Learning in Museums, American Association of Museums, 1995.
 
Learning in the Museum, By George E. Hein. Published 1998 by Routledge. 203 pages. ISBN:0415097754. Google Books says: "'Learning in the Museum' confronts the educational role which museums can have and shows how research in visitor studies and the philosophy of education can be applied to facilitate a meaningful educational experience in museums. The book contains a brief history of education in public museums, and goes on to examine how the educational theories of Dewey, Piaget, Vygotsky relate to learning in the museum. A survey of the wide range of research methods employed in visitor studies is illustrated with examples taken from museums around the world. George E. Hein concludes that visitors best learn when knowledge is actively constructed in their own minds, and provides a model of the 'constructivist museum' -- one with exhibitions which are physically, socially, and intellectually accessible to every single visitor." Note: Google Books offers a Limited Preview of this book. For more information on this and other digitizing initiatives from publishers please click here and here. (right: front cover: Learning in the Museum. Image courtesy Google Books)
 
Paying Attention: Visitors and Museum Exhibitions, Beverly Serrell, 1998 (105+ pages.)

 

Executive Director

The executive director provides conceptual leadership of the museum and is responsible for overall management. Depending on such factors as the size of the institution, the level of financial support, and the extent of the collection (if any), the responsibilities of a museum director may require specialist duties in addition to overall management. At some institutions the director is responsible for major fund raising, planning exhibition schedules, and meeting with museum members, sponsors and higher level administrators. At other institutions some of these functions are assigned to other museum staff. Executive directors often have an advanced degree in art history, studio art, museum studies, or arts administration. Many times directors have doctoral degrees. To learn more about museum directors, see the website for the Association of Art Museum Directors. Some executive directors also oversee performing arts functions in smaller settings such as local cultural centers.
 
Suggested Books
 
The Manual of Museum Management, By Barry Lord, Gail Dexter Lord. Published 1997 by Rowman Altamira. 276 pages. ISBN:075910249X. Google Books says: "This volume presents a comprehensive and incisive analysis of the principles of muesum organization, the ways in which people work together to accomplish museum objectives and the ways in which museums can function most effectively."
 
"Published at a time when museums are in search of common ground, The Manual of Museum Management provides a tool with which we may begin to understand and deal with the challenges that are confronting museums. The book offers a shared vocabulary and analytical framework through which to rethink the museum. It is structured into three parts, discussing, in turn, the why, the who, and the how of museum management. That three quarters of its pages are devoted to the how is a particular strength....The book offers itself as a point of reference for all the diverse interests that comprise a museum. It gives museum directors a conductor's podium on which to make music from the chorus of curators, designers, educators, registrars, constituents, volunteers, board members, funding agencies, and the general public....Well-illustrated with tables and figures, the text also includes a dozen case studies....A useful appendix of job descriptions and qualifications for museum positions and a glossary defining key terms." - Patrick Norris, Kalamazoo Valley History Center, HISTORY NEWS Note: Google Books offers a Limited Preview of this book. For more information on this and other digitizing initiatives from publishers please click here and here.. (right: front cover: The Manual of Museum Management. Image courtesy Google Books)
 
Model Museum Director's Employment Contract, By Association of Art Museum Directors, Association of Art Museum Directors. Published 1996. 78 pages
 
The Nonprofit Board's Guide to Chief Executive Compensation, National Center for Nonprofit Boards, 1995 (16 pages).

 

Finance Director

This position is responsible for accounting, budgeting, financial reporting, investments and other related functions. The finance director works closely with the executive director and development director in financial planning.
 
 

Guard

To gain an appreciation of the role of museum gallery guards, read about Alberto Noriega, Lead Guard at the Yale University Art Gallery. Gallery guards and other security officers serve to protect artworks and museum grounds, and also provide directions to guests.

Librarian

The librarian directs the activities of the museum's library in much the same manner as would be the case in a public library. The librarian is the designated contact for working with outsiders who have need of the registrar's object files for research. The librarian also handles correspondence regarding information about art objects. The librarian conducts research for staff members and limited amounts for the public, handles circulating packets of general museum mail, and carries out the usual library duties of ordering, cataloging and organizing the book and periodical collection and maintaining user services. [2] Also see Digital Libraries for Museums.
 
YouTube offers eight video clips describing library careers and job descriptions. In a Panel Discussion (01:02:33) three guest speakers share their experience and perspective on the information profession and librarianship. The speakers, in talking order, are: Jan Knight (information consultant) at 3 minutes into the clip, Ann Dutton Ewbank (K-12, University librarian) at 19 minutes into the clip, and Mary Graham (Museum librarian) about 36 minutes into the clip.
 
Also see the College Art Association Web page for Standards and Guidelines, which contains a 2012 report titled "Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Academic and Research Libraries from the Association of Research Libraries, and "The Importance of Museum Libraries" by Jan van der Wateren, presented at the international conference "Museums in Libraries," May 17-20, 1999.

Preparator

The preparator is responsible for the physical care of the permanent collection and preparation of works of art for display, transportation and storage. According to a Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art web page the preparator's activities "... include art handling, matting/framing of artwork, preparation of galleries for exhibitions and change-outs, labels, wall text, vinyl lettering, gallery lighting, maintenance of hygrothermagraphs, and photography of the collection." A University of Wyoming web page describes the purpose of the position as follows: "Supervises the installation of art objects for museum exhibitions; plans and directs the fabrication, installation and disassembly of temporary and permanent museum exhibits; coordinates the exhibit schedule; supervises the installation/disassembling crew; and responsible for collection storage and facility operations."
 
Suggested Books
 
Exhibit Labels: An Interpretive Approach, Beverly Serrell, 1996 (261 pages).
 
Standards Manual for Signs and Labels, 1995, American Association of Museums and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1995 (56 pages.)

 

Publications Director

The publications director is in charge of preparation and marketing of exhibition catalogues, in-house magazines, plus multimedia products. Also see the College Art Association Web page for Standards and Guidelines, which contains a report titled "Copyrights and Permissions in Scholarly and Educational Publishing."
 
 

Marketing, Publicity, Communications or Media Relations Director

This position is responsible for marketing functions and communicating with the publics of a museum including museum members and the press. There can be several iterations for handling these functions depending on the size of the institution, budget constraints and available talent. [3]
 
Suggested Books
 
Impress the Press: News Media Relations for Small businesses and Organizations David P. Blanchette, 1997 (88 pages).
 
Marketing and Public Relations Handbook for Museums, Galleries, and Heritage Organizations, Sue Runyard, 1999 (290 pages).
 
Museum Marketing: Competing in the Global Marketplace, By Ruth Rentschler, Anne-Marie Hede. Published 2007 by Butterworth-Heinemann. 270 pages. ISBN:0750680652. Google Books says: "Museums have moved from a product to a marketing focus within the last ten years. This has entailed a painful reorientation of approaches to understanding visitors as 'customers'; new ways of fundraising and sponsorship as government funding decreases; and grappling with using the internet for marketing. This book brings the latest in marketing thinking to bear on the museum sector taking into account both the commercial issues and social mission it involves. Carefully structured to be highly accessible the book offers: * A contemporary and relevant and global approach to museum marketing written by authors in Britain, Australia, the United States, and Asia * An approach that reflects the particular challenges museums of varying sizes face when seeking to market an experience to a diverse set of stakeholders: audience; funders; sponsors and government. * A particular focus on museum marketing in the 'Information Age' * Major case studies at the beginning and end of each section of the book, and smaller case studies within chapters The hugely experienced author team, includes both leading academics and practitioners to ensure the book has broad appeal and is both relevant, innovative and progressive in approach. It will be essential reading for students in museum studies, non-profit marketing, and arts management and marketing. It will also be equally relevant for professionals working in and managing museums and galleries, heritage attractions and ministries of arts. * The most up-to-date treatment of marketing museums with a global approach* Blend of academic and practitioner expertise to appeal to students and professionals seeking a contemporaryand relevant approach* Features a range of international case studies that demonstrate the museum experience and draw out the particular challenges that museums and galleries of varying sizes and types face in the global marketplace" Note: Google Books offers a Limited Preview of this book. For more information on this and other digitizing initiatives from publishers please click here and here. (right: front cover: Museum Marketing: Competing in the Global Marketplace. Image courtesy Google Books)
 
Museum Public Relations, G. Donald Adams, 1983 (237 pages)
 
 

Receptionist

The receptionist receives guests to the museum and may also provide word processing support for the staff, maintain calendars and event signage, and process requests for room use.

Registrar

The registrar is responsible for collections management including the care and preservation of artwork, its shipping, packing, and customs arrangements, and occasionally acting as courier when artwork travels. The registrar is responsible for all processes associated with accessioning and deaccessioning, conducting condition reports and inventories, may arrange for insurance coverage and storage, and for the organization and maintenance of permanent collection files. The registrar acts as administrator for the collection database. According to a City of Mesa, AZ web page "A Museum Registrar is responsible for developing collection policies and supervises the centralized care of the museum collections in accordance with the Museum's mission statement and professional standards set by the American Association of Museums. The Museum Registrar performs a full range of professional duties involved with the management and coordination of the Museum's Collections Area. Serving as a member of the management team, the Museum Registrar resolves issues and works together to form short and long-range goals for the Museum. The person in this position serves along with the Museum Administrator and Curators as one of the members of the Accessions Committee, deciding which objects will be added to the permanent collections."
 
See Jay Brennan Pattison, Associate Registrar of the Cincinnati Art Museum explain in a series of video clips what a registrar does at a museum, education needed, classes students should take to prepare for a career as a registrar, and more.
 
Suggested Books
 
Cataloging from Scratch: A Manual for Cataloging Undocumented Collections in ..., By Caroline Stuckert, Morris Stuckert. Published 1991. MACC Associates. 92 pages. ISBN:0963090402 "The product of a collaborative cataloging project undertaken in 1986-87 by five small museums in Delaware County, Pa." -- Acknowledgements.
 
Computerizing Your Collections Records, Jan S. Ballard, 2001 (8 pages). Issued as an insert in History News, v. 56, no. 4 (Autumn 2001).
 
Museums Collections Registration and Documentation, Colorado-Wyoming Association of Museums, 1993
 
Museum Registration Methods, American Association of Museums, 1979 (437 pages).
 
Registration Methods for the Small Museum, By Daniel B. Reibel. Published 1997 by Rowman Altamira. 192 pages. ISBN:0761989056. Google Books says: "The definitive guide to registration methodology for smaller institutions and beginning or part-time registrars. This is a completely new and updated version of the original classic; included is a discussion of computer technology and its uses and implications for the small museum. Also provided: sample manuals and forms for immediate use." Google Books offers an online Limited Review of this book. (right: front cover: Registration Methods for the Small Museum. Image courtesy Google Books)
 
The New Museum Registration Methods, Rebecca A. Buck and Jean Allman Gilmore, eds., 1998 (427 pages.)
 
The Revised Nomenclature for Museum Cataloging, James R. Blackaby, et al. 1988 (520 pages).

 

Other staff

Functions beyond those listed above are preformed by other staff members or on a contact basis. Examples are information technology, custodial, cafe operations, and human resources.
 
 

Resources other than staff

Besides staff members there are talents of others enriching the museum's programming.

 

Art Historians

Art historians independent of the museum act as consultants, catalogue essayists, visiting researchers and curators. To review TFAO's listings of art historians and links to hundreds of related essays, please see Author Study and Index.
 

Artists

Artists, besides being the creators of the works exhibited, are called upon to explain their creative processes and provide other educational offerings for museum audiences.
 

Collectors

Loans of art works and patronage from collectors are an integral factor in the museum experience. Please see Lending Art to Museums for Special Exhibitions. For an introduction to the history and practices of individual collectors please see Private Collections: Patterns and Aesthetics by Franklin Hill Perrell. Major collectors from time are involved in Founding a Private Art Museum.
 

Docents

"The word docent," as explained by the Tampa Museum of Art, "comes from the word docere, which means to lead or teach. In museum practice today, the word has come to represent a vital link between a work of art and the visitor's experience."
 
 

An Example of Staff Collaboration

The C. M. Russell Museum, in its Spring 2005 issue of Russell's West Quarterly, provides an insightful example of how the director, curator and registrar of that museum work together in the acquisition and accession process:

Museums, including the C. M. Russell Museum, acquire cultural objects through gifts, purchases, and bequests. When an object is acquired through gift or bequest, a museum has the fortunate experience of being able to save funds for other special acquisitions and projects. Title is transferred to the museum, which takes legal ownership of the object through what is known as the accession process. Because of important legal and ethical issues regarding the long-term care and storage of cultural material -- which can include anything from a painting to a piece of real estate -- it is necessary to carefully consider the intended use of objects to be taken into the permanent collection.
 
The review process of a potential donation is extensive, and begins with the curatorial group, which can consist of director, curator, and registrar. This group makes an initial assessment regarding storage, conservation, and ownership issues. For example, it is not usually a good idea to accept something that is in need of extensive conservation unless funds are available for this use, or that requires specialized storage conditions beyond the current ability of the museum, or that may be involved in litigation. The object is also evaluated for its historical, anthropological, or art historical importance or significance with respect to the collections it will join. Particular attention is paid to the object's relationship to the Museum's mission and to the permanent collections.
 
The curatorial group then presents the potential acquisition to the Collections Committee, a board-appointed group who makes a recommendation for acceptance or rejection to the Board of Directors or other legal entity under which the Museum functions. The Board of Directors reviews the recommendation and makes the final decision.
 
There is tremendous variety in Museum collections, and cultural objects are used in several ways. The primary use is as part of the permanent collection, for exhibition, either permanent or rotating. A secondary, but important use is to become part of the permanent collection, but for study and research purposes. In both cases, the object is accesioned and cataloged into the permanent collection inventory with a unique number in the classification system that identifies it legally.
 
Not all objects acquired are intended to be accesioned. For example, the education collection holds objects of lesser historical value that are useful in museum programs. These objects are not held in the permanent collection storage or cataloged in the permanent collection inventory. Another important example involves acceptance with the understanding that the object may be sold in the future to support the museum's acquisition fund. Gifts to non-profit institutions have considerable tax advantages to the donor if the item is given for its related use (exhibition or education), and less advantage if given for an unrelated use. [4]
 

Other Suggested Books

Introduction to Museum Work, By G. Ellis Burcaw. Published 1997 by Rowman & Littlefield. 240 pages. ISBN:0761989269. Google Books says "Long regarded as one the leading texts in museology, Introduction to Museum Work is now thoroughly revised and updated. While citing recent changes in the museum world, the third edition of Burcaw's classic work retains its useful philosophical orientation and convenient summary format. All the basics of museology are here-the central issues are discussed and definitions are given for all the terms museum workers need to know. Every chapter includes practical exercises making Burcaw's book ideal for the classroom or for novice museum workers. Accepted by the Documentation Center of the International Conference of Museums as exemplary of museum training, Introduction to Museum Work is used as a basic text in museum studies all over the world." Note: Google Books offers a Limited Preview of this book. For more information on this and other digitizing initiatives from publishers please click here and here. (right: front cover: Introduction to Museum Work. Image courtesy Google Books)

 

Return to Museums Explained

 


Notes

1. For an explanation of categories of specialized knowledge and skills needed by those involved in museum exhibit development, see "Requirements & Disciplines" prepared by the National Park Service. All references to websites providing information on job descriptions wee accessed on October 28, 2004. Also, the Chazen Museum of Art's staff page provides a short description of duties of key employees.

2. Courtesy of the Wichita Art Museum. The Iowa Department of Administrative Services offers 10 job descriptions for museum library staff positions. For more information please see the American Library Association, (800) 545-2433, and the Special Libraries Association, (703) 647-4900.

3. Resource Library -- TFAO's publication including articles and essays -- contains articles and essays by acclaimed authors plus other texts and related images provided mainly by nonprofit art museums, galleries and art centers.

Institutions often send to Resource Library much more information than usually sent to media organizations. They may send new or previously published essays, blog texts, magazine articles, gallery guide texts, wall panel and labels texts, audio tour scripts and checklists. Materials relating to exhibitions published in Resource Library often include elements infrequently published online or on paper. Resource Library does not inject its own critique or opinions into published texts.

Texts and images from institutions are usually sent to Resource Library by staff members including curators, executive directors and media relations personnel. Certain texts not attributed to an author -- such as gallery guide texts, wall panel and labels texts, audio tour scripts and checklists -- are usually written by curators. News releases are usually written by media relations staff, who gather information form curators before composing the releases. Less frequently, news releases are written by media relations firms retained by the nonprofits.

4. Quoted paragraphs reprinted with permission of the C. M. Russell Museum and are from Volume 2 issue 1, p.7 of Russell's West Quarterly, a publication of the C. M. Russell Museum. Individuals interested is learning about membership in the Museum may call (406) 727-8787 or visit their web site at http://www.cmrussell.org (right: front cover of Russell's West Quarterly, a publication of the C. M. Russell Museum.)

rev. 6/12/15

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