Monday, July 09, 2007

Job Titles and Job Opening

Our Assistant Curator of Education resigned recently to work at another art museum. We decided to change the job title after some long and careful consideration. I seem to be discovering more and more non-conventional job titles in the museum field: Director of Interpretation, Experience Manager, All Around Fun Guy. maybe not that last one.

We changed ours to Manager of Multimedia Interpretive Programs. We were looking for something to encapsulate the duties of the job and the original title had about 13 words in it. This is the shorter version.

Chattanooga is a great city 3 hours from Nashville, 1.5 hours from Atlanta, and 1.5 hours from Knoxville. Let me know if you have any questions about the position, but please forward your resume to the person listed below.

In the comments post 2 things: your job title and what it is you actually do. If we have any Directors of Fun out there then please post.


The Hunter Museum of American Art has an opening for the Manager of Multimedia Interpretive Programs. This education department position will join a dynamic education team and will have an important role in developing tuition-based, tour-based and family-based studio offerings for visitors of all ages. This position is responsible for all multimedia interpretive elements of offered including video podcast projects, cell phone interpretive projects and other future web and gallery-based technologies that will be incorporated into the Hunter’s interpretive plan. This position will assist the department with school focused museum visits, weekly evening programs, and family programs.

Individual must have experience managing a studio program and have at least 3 years professional museum experience with a background in broad based museum education. The position requires strong skills with multiple forms of technology used in the context of museum interpretation. This individual should be well versed in contemporary visitor-centric museum education practices and experience working with novice viewers.

Applications including a letter outlining skills in above areas and a professional resume along with 3 references should be sent in electronic or hard copy to:

Adera Causey

Curator of Education

Hunter Museum of American Art

10 Bluff View

Chattanooga, TN 37403

Fax – 423 267-9844

Email –

Applications accepted through July 31, 2007.


Hassan said...

I'll go first.

Title: Manager of School and Family Programs
Description: Basically what it says. I work closely with schools to develop curriculum based programs and I create on site family programs.

Lee said...

I'm kind of coming in from the opposite end.

I was just hired as the Adult Education Curator for a small museum. Although I have 6 years experience working for museums (4 years as Assistant Registrar, 1 year as Curatorial Intern, 1 year as Community Arts Coordinator), I have not formally taken classes in Museum Education. In fact, my undergraduate degree was in Sociology.

I think I'm doing okay at my job. I have designed lots of programs, and I'm creating good text, designing tours, etc.
However, I'd be interested in reading or learning in a more formal way as well. Is there a "handbook" or some place to see best practices or examples for museum education work? Where do I go to find this information?

(sorry to steal this comment thread. maybe this could be a new posting?)

lauren said...

Title: Education and Program Coordinator

Description: That and so much more! I love how my job has so many angles. Not only do I handle the private groups, develop new educational materials, and get to work on public programs, but I also do much of the graphic and web design for my museum and have been asked to submit a book proposal. I'm the kind of person where I need lots of different kinds of stimulation constantly, so this job is ideal for that. I may ask for a title promotion soon to either Assistant Director or Manager of... something like that.

Jason said...

Director of Instructional Technology

This title was a compromise of compromises and actually took about 4 months to settle on (though I still don't like it). My job description is really VERY vague and broad. This next month is the ultimate demonstration of that as I head out into the field as Field Supervisor for our Dinosaur Field School...(visit us at The original title was also quite long, 13 or 14 words I think. One of my favorites was "Prestidigitator of Digitization---the rationale being that I'd have to be a magician to pull it all off.

I'm in the education department, but I'm also considered a part of the collections department. I work with school groups, but I also serve as an advisor for internal technology purchases and integration. I work with artifacts and give tours, but I am also responsible for ths digitization of those artifacts for a future website interactive.

LD/Brownie said...

My title is Curator of Education and Exhibits. They basically let me pick, although they vetoed "museum princess" pretty firmly. My predecessor had been "coordinator" of those things, but I felt "curator sounded better."

As to what I actually do...well, I have only one full-time co-worker, so I have a wide variety of responsibilities. I'm relatively new to my position, but feel that my title captures it pretty well, my cleaning-related responsibilities notwithstanding.

Anonymous said...

I am very intrigued by this issue.

My title was recently changed from "Outreach and Education Technology Coordinator" to "Manager of New Media and Family Interpretation."

Both are long, but the second is more descriptive of what I actually do: manage all family/outreach programs and any technology-related projects (websites, exhibition technology, etc.)

In a small education department (3) , it seems like titles become very vague (i.e. "Manager of Education Programs") or very long (see mine above.)


Hassan said...

Finally! Someone with a title longer than mine! That is a mouthful. I hope it all fits on your business card.

Does anyone feel like their job title restricts them from pursuing other areas?

By the way, the position at the Hunter (where I work) has been extended to the end of this week if anyone is interested.

Anonymous said...

I'm applying for a job with the title "coordinator of collections and exhibits." The reason for the coordinator (it used to be curator) they explained was that they wanted there to be more student curated shows (it's a museum attached to a university). Because this position no longer has the word curator in it, will this job not count as much for when I'm applying for my next job?

Anonymous said...

I could be off-base here, but I would suspect that most people would suspect that a vague/general title, for a job at a non-major museum probably encompasses much more than can simply be explained.

My current title is "Curator of Education," but I have all sorts of other responsibilities (as seems to be the case here), and I don't anticipate it will hamper any future job prospects.

doubledown said...

hey, brand-new to YMP...what a great idea! i found a link to it from the assoc of midwest museums.

my official title is "exhbit/collections specialist"

i don't know how i feel about having a slash in my title, but i didn't have a choice. what causes me the most problems is that my director (who just got promoted from registrar) constantly introduces me to people as a "technician," which in my mind does not have the same professional ring to it. i always correct her and say, laughingly, "hey, that's specialist to you!"

i think my title should actually be "collections specialist and chief preparator", or something like that. i was mopping the floor the other day, though, so "sometimes janitor" fits too.


Jenny said...

It seems I found this thread at the perfect time! I oversee all operations of a small, municipality-owned museum. Due to the organizational structure within the government, I'm not able to have the title of director, or even manager. My current title is science center coordinator, however I've been given the opportunity to change it!

As someone else noted, "Queen" didn't get very far, and I've been debating over curator. My concern is that I oversee more than just the educational and exhibit components; I oversee budgets, personnel concerns, master planning, etc. Does anyone have suggestions for a title that would more accurately represent my duties?

Thanks in advance.

Anonymous said...

Like doubledown, I am also a "Collections Specialist." However, I've been applying for a new job as this is a fixed-term position. Some govt jobs strictly require experience in a specific field. While I am adequately trained to be a collections manager, registrar, curator, etc, I do not technically have "3-5 years experience as a registrar." These applications are scanned by computers to identify key words, so I get 0 points for being a Collections Specialist. Do I lie and say I am really a registrar?

I can see the need for specific job titles that accurately define the duties of that position, but on the other hand it is nice to have some consistency in the field. Ok, maybe that's my anal collections mentality popping out into the blog....oops!

Natalie said...

My job title is simple and straightforward - Educator.

But it hardly describes everything that I do. Like all professionals working in a small museum (I have 1 co-worker) I am responsible for a variety of things including: all planning, development, and implementation of educational programs for school and scout groups. I run a Junior Historical Society for kids 8-13, and work with the Education Committee to plan adult programs throughout the year. I am also responsible for tracking membership to the museum and work with the Membership Committee to send out membership mailings, solicitations, and information packets, and from time to time I help my co-worker with exhibits. We both work with the Fundraising Committee and do a number of other things like cleaning, light repairs, public relations, and coordinating the gift shop. On a number of occasions one of our board members has referred to us as “The Queens of All Things” and while we like the sound of that it hardly fits on the business card. At times having to wear so many hats can be overwhelming but I feel that gaining experience in all of these various departments will benefit me when I want to move on to a larger institution.


Courtney said...

At my last job, my title was "Moveable Museum Educator" -- I was an educator for the Moveable Museum program at my institution, driving a 37-foot bus with a museum inside of it around the 5 boroughs of NYC.

This in itself is a hard thing to explain to people; it's not a real, um, typical job. But like Natalie above, the title of "educator" also only encompassed one aspect of my work in this role. On top of teaching, all of us Moveable Museum Educators were also responsible for developing curriculum, serving as the coordinators/main point of contact for our particular bus, performing various major administrative duties (registration, purchasing, funder relations, etc.), as well as driving and maintaining both the buses themselves and the museum exhibits they housed (including a lot of technological components that required pretty regular tinkering).

There was a lot of talk this past year about changing our titles, but it's hard because what we do didn't really fit neatly within the heirarchy of roles our (very large) museum already had in place.

I have to imagine, though, that knowing how variable titles can be not even from place-to-place or museum-to-museum, but even within the same museum, potential employers care more about what you've actually done then what it said on your business card.

Rebecca said...

Title: Exhibits and Programs Coordinator

Description: Like so many who have posted before, my job encompasses so many things outside of the description. I'm responsible for all educational aspects of our exhibit spaces (developing content, writing didactic materials, creating hands-on stations, acquiring new exhibit elements) and I oversee our Exhibit Fabricator and Exhibit Technician.

On the Education side, I'm responsible for all regular, non-outreach programming. However, because our department is small (2 full time, 2 part time) and we have about 8 outreach programs (some which occur weekly!), I have gradually been taking over outreach programming with a couple community partners. I also do all staff and volunteer training and development, oversee the internship program, and teach school tours (which can easily eat up 10-15 hours of my week).

I love pretty much every element of my job but I become frustration with the lack of focus. I'm doing so many things in different areas, which is great, but it becomes difficult to see where my career skill set is developing.

museumdani said...

My title is Collections and Technology Manager. When I describe to people what I do, I tell them that I take care of the old stuff and the new stuff. Although the collections management end of my job is fairly traditional in the realm of what collections managers do, the technology part is a bit unrelated. I was surprised to see how many collections people out there are also handling technology. I don't feel so unique any more. It took a while to get used to this combination, but now I enjoy it!

ruraleducation said...

Job titles are a tricky thing especially in the museum field. Unless you work at a very large museum, everyone on staff has to mult-task in order for the museum to succeed. I am the director of education at a dynamic farm museum and I still somethings have to dill paper towel dispensers and take care of trash. Titles are abig thing to some people. My current issue at work is related to this very thing. I have 3 educators 1 full time and 2 part time. The full time educator feels she should have a "better" title than the other educators because she works 5 days a week vesus their 3 and becuase they ask her questions when then come in. SHe does have a few extra duties sice she is there more like dealing with volunteers. What do you think?

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James Scott said...

This has been a very helpful thread. I do social media marketing, exhibit design, build exhibit furniture, and help with event planning for a small museum. I was gunning for "Lord High Commander of Exhibits and Admiral of the Archives" but it looks like it might be Exhibit and Media Curator.

MJS said...

What is the work title of the staff at museums that observe the visitors?